The Kenya Vision 2030 aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment.

The objective of the Economic Pillar of Vision 2030 is to create a robust, diversified and competitive manufacturing sector in three ways: 1) boosting local production, 2) expanding to the regional market and 3) taking advantage of global market niches. To achieve this the Vision 2030 identified the following strategies; a) boosting science, technology and innovation by increasing investment in R&D b) strengthening SMEs to become the key industries of tomorrow by improving their productivity and innovation.

To support the implementation of the above strategies in order to realize the said manufacturing sector objectives, MTP I and MTP II identified “transformation of KIRDI into a world class research organization” as one of the flagship projects for the manufacturing sector. The transformation of KIRDI into a world class research organization entails upgrading the research, technology and innovation infrastructure as well as building capacity of human capital (Scientists and Engineers). The importance of the research, technology and innovation has also been recognized in the MTP III with the expansion of the flagship project of “transformation of KIRDI into a world class research organization” to a flagship programme known as “Research, Technology and Innovation programme”.

To support the realization of the MTP III the government came up with the “Big Four Agenda” whose main goals are (a) Support value addition and raise the manufacturing sector share to GDP to 15% by 2022; (b) Focus on initiatives that guarantee food security and nutrition to all Kenyans by 2022; (c) Provide Universal Health Coverage thereby guaranteeing quality and affordable healthcare to all Kenyans; and (d) Provide Housing to all Kenyans by targeting construction of at least five hundred thousand affordable houses by 2022.          Research, Technology and Innovation is important in the realization of the Big Four Agenda. Value addition can only be achieved through research, product development and application of manufacturing technology, raising the manufacturing sector share to GDP will largely depend on productivity and competitiveness of the manufacturing industries. Productivity and competitiveness are largely driven by the type and nature of technology used. Food security and nutrition will depend on the agricultural productivity and post-harvest management which are also largely technology driven. There is need to lower the cost of agricultural and post-harvest machinery by producing them locally. Provision of affordable universal health coverage will largely depend on availability and costs of diagnostic machinery and medicines.  Local production of the diagnostic machinery and medicines will lower their cost, thus contributing to their availability and affordability. Provision of affordable housing largely demands use of innovative technologies that can lower the cost of building materials.

KIRDI will develop value addition and manufacturing technologies and transfer the same to MSMEs. The transferred technologies will enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the MSMEs thus enables them to grow, create jobs and increase their contribution to GDP. The facilities will also be used to develop and transfer technology on; (i) agricultural production and post-harvest machinery thus contribute to increase in agricultural productivity leading to enhanced food security and nutrition, (ii) pharmaceutical production and thus contribute to universal health care.