Technology is moving very fast. Way faster than some countries are able to formulate policies to keep up with changes. Yet as much as policy is moving slower than technology, relevant laws are moving even slower and it is clear that the policy process in many countries has to change.

In a move that is set to further   transform and advance policy in the region, Microsoft has partnered with Strathmore University, Kenya, to digitally transform their law school. In so doing, Microsoft has sponsored the construction of the Microsoft Auditorium in its Sir Thomas Moore Building, and separately founded the high-tech Microsoft Policy Innovation Centre. Places for law students and academia to meet, discuss and lead the way in formulating technology relevant policies. After all, it is difficult for laws to operate successfully outside of good policy.

Microsoft has provided all equipment and work on the design for the auditorium facility, aimed at providing an immersive experience to students, participants and visitors. Microsoft will also provide software, solutions and training for the implementation of the project. The Policy and Innovation Centre will be equipped with Office 365, providing users with productivity tools, to enhance their day-to-day experience.

My first question when I heard about this was, why would Microsoft partner with a law school? Well, to inject elements of ICT in policy making, inclusion and to enable ICT based arbitration. So that the next generation of lawyers will be better able to navitage the inevitable tech world, and guide their clients through it also. With good policy, we’ll even be able to utilize a lot of technologies that are lying dormant, but that could very well be of some use. Right policies will also go a long way in unlocking local talent. We have so much of this but for some developments there are no right policies in place for them to be fully usable.

There could never have been a better time to have this kind of partnership. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us and technology is changing just about every facet of our lives. The innovation center will provide the space and environment for discussion and collaboration between law students and academia to look at emerging challenges and issues with a mind to effectively address them. The end result we’re looking at is transformation of businesses, countries and an enabling environment for people to create economic opportunities. We’re also looking at a better management of law courts, e-Justice and a more efficient judiciary,

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.” Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

The PIC will draw upon and convene the talents of academia, industry and policy experts, and government. Together, they will address emerging issues at the forefront of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals, Industries and Digital Transformation and explore the policy challenges we face in the region to overcome these issues.

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