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A Three-year-old Startup Company is Leading Kenya into the World of High-tech Manufacturing

It’s at the forefront of building a workforce capable of making semiconductors and nanotechnology products that operate modern devices from mobile phones to refrigerators. Anthony Githinji is the founder of Semiconductors Technologies Limited, or STL. He brought his know-how to Kenya from the United States, where he started work in 1997 on semiconductors — materials that conduct electricity and are used in thousands of products. Semiconductors are used in almost every sector of electronics. In consumer electronics, for example, they are used in microwave ovens, refrigerators, mobile phones, laptops, and video game consoles. Githinji said the biggest barrier to entry in any high-tech business is finding a workforce with the right skills. STL employs about 100 engineers, 70 percent of them women. The company is working to establish relationships with other universities in Kenya, such as Strathmore and University of Eldoret, as well as in Uganda and Rwanda. Githinji and his partners, have built a computer lab in a remote village near Mount Kenya with about 20 workstations so kids and their families can benefit.