SPEECH DELIVERED BY JOEL ONDITI, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, FOR PATHWAYS TECHNOLOGIES DURING THE PATHWAYS LAUNCH ON 16/02/2023 AT RADISSON BLU HOTEL.
The Deputy Ambassador of The United States to Kenya, Mr. Marc Dillard,
Members of the Diplomatic Community.
Members of the Ministry of ICT, of the Government of Kenya,
Members of the Fourth Estate,
Pathways Technologies LTD partners, customers, friends, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning.
First and foremost, I would like to thank you all for joining us today as we launch Pathways Technologies LTD here in Nairobi, Kenya, and by extension, in Africa. For me, this day is a dream come true.
In 2009, I quit my job as a database and software developer at a bank here in Kenya, packed my bags, and left for the University of Denver, Colorado, USA, to pursue my master’s degree in Business Analytics. This was a premier program in the Data Science world and so armed with slightly under $100, a laptop, and big dreams, I set out to the land of milk and honey in search of the American Dream. Between odd jobs, teaching assistantships, culture shocks, and hard work, I completed the program successfully.
After graduation, I had stints with big tech, the likes of Oracle and IBM, leading data and technology implementations in The United States and Canada. In 2013, with the help of colleagues like my former professor, Jed Summerton, I founded Pathways International LLC, with the aim of bringing cutting-edge technologies to smaller and medium-sized customers, government, and quasi-government organizations in the US. I set up the team in Nairobi, as a global delivery center, to service our American customers. This team has diligently delivered amazing data and technology solutions while adhering to world-class quality standards.
My stint in the US was filled with various learning and growing moments. I had to learn what it meant to set up a business in a new country. I had to learn how to sell our services and pitch the African people as technology gurus and not just marathon runners. I quickly realized that if my target market was to understand what I was selling, I had to say “data” and not “data”. In addition to running Pathways, I served as a University Professor; teaching business intelligence and data analytics; I sat on an advisory board stalking about data and technology; and for 7 years I was a contractor for the United States government, consulting on large-scale data and technology projects.
During my numerous business trips to Nairobi, I realized the need to provide our world-class services to the African market. This began our work with local entities including ABSA group, KCB group, Mwalimu Sacco, Isuzu East Africa, World Vision International, Palladium, Copia, and many more. We also formed academic partnerships with local colleges like Strathmore University, JKUAT, Riara, and Tom Mboya University, to teach high-level skills like data science and AI. Realizing how much potential Africa had and knowing that technology is a lever in the growth and transformation of Africa, I started dreaming about an opportunity to return to Africa.
The pandemic period was a big eye-opener for me, just like for many others in the world. The urge to turn the corner and re-shift our focus to Africa grew stronger. In preparation, I undertook 2 postgraduate programs in innovation strategy and public policy from MIT and Harvard respectively.
Today, with the help of great leadership from my business partner Mr. Gideon Aswani, and our senior leadership team led by Miss Becky Abraham, David Osawa, and Joshua Rombosia, Pathways Technologies LTD is officially launching here in Africa. The African dream is on. Pathways Technologies LTD seeks to become the leading partner in Data, Technology, and Innovation. Indeed, we have shown that we are ready for the task, and just a couple of weeks ago, we became East and Central Africa’s first Microsoft Solutions Provider in Data and AI.
Under the leadership of Mr. Jed Summerton, our US team remains steadfast in serving our American customers as well as offering advisory and support to our Africa team. I am happy to say that Pathways Technologies LTD is creating employment both in Africa and the United States.
As we launch in Africa, our goal is to partner with existing organizations, to make Africa a better place. In this spirit, we are building true alliances with like-minded players, and I would like to mention a few:
– We have partnered with Sulma Whole Foods, a social enterprise that seeks to support farmers to access markets and financing. Together, we have created a digital platform to onboard farmers and leverage advanced technologies like AI to perform credit scoring for otherwise unbanked farmers. This opens much-needed financing opportunities to the farmers. We are currently piloting with 30,000 farmers on the platform and engaging with local financial institutions to actualize this dream. Roughly 65% of Africa’s population relies on subsistence farming. This population will benefit greatly from our platform.
– We are partnering with VentureLift Africa, a consultancy firm whose solutions encompass investment, product and service trade that engages diaspora commerce. This partnership will focus on AGOA trade analysis, diaspora engagement and education for employment, to connect African youth talent to the US and other global markets. The goal of this partnership is to leverage data and technology across Fintech, Creative, Energy, Healthcare and Agriculture sectors.
– The third and most crucial partnership that we would like to announce today is a partnership with the Kenyan Government, through its implementation partner, Konza Technopolis. Under the Jitume initiative, the government of Kenya seeks to create 1 million digital jobs over the next 3 – 5 years. This partnership will see Pathways Technologies LTD undertake the training of our youth in highly specialized technology fields like data analytics, data science and software development. Pathways Technologies LTD will also work with Konza Technopolis to source for job markets in Africa, US and beyond, for our youth. We would like to thank the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT, Engineer John Tanui, for recognizing our potential as a trusted partner. With a population that is young and well-educated, we believe that this partnership will fast-track the dream to truly make Kenya the Silicon Savannah.
So, why Pathways Technologies LTD? We bring our tried and tested expertise in the following 5 main areas:
1. Business Intelligence and Data Science
This is one of the newest and most crucial growth areas today. From government to private entities, organizations must be able to analyze their data for insights and wisdom. Technologies such as big data, machine learning and AI have been our bread and butter over the last 10 years, and we are happy to deliver tangible use cases using these technologies.
2. Application and Software Development
As we work with our customers and partners to innovate, we employ best practices in developing quality software that can deliver the best solutions to our customers.
3. Training and Staffing:
With constant evolution in the data and tech ecosystem, there exists a gap in up-to-date knowledge and skills. Pathways Technologies LTD provides best-in-class training in the field of data analytics, as well as staffing for these roles.
4. Fintech Innovation:
The role of Fintech in Kenya today is exemplified by projects such as the Hustler Fund, which has opened access to affordable credit. Pathways Technologies LTD works closely with financial organizations to build innovative Fintech solutions to help them serve customers better and increase access to financial services. Our credit scoring solution is an example of such a service. Other services here include mobile banking, API gateways and more.
70% of digital transformation initiatives by organizations fail to accomplish their stated goals due to a lack of end-to-end advisory services. Pathways Technologies LTD has launched an advisory service to help organizations in their digital transformation journey and through a data-driven approach, help companies deploy the best digital and data strategies leading to growth.
Ladies and gentlemen, PathwaysTechnologies is committed to supporting data innovation initiatives in various industries and equipping businesses and individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a digital world.
Quoting Rosalind Torres, I finish by saying, that great leaders are men and women who prepare themselves not for the comfortable predictability of yesterday but also for the realities of today and all those unknown possibilities of tomorrow.
Thank you and God bless.