Technology Development and Technology Systems in Africa
INTRODUCTION The Kenyan government clearly regards industrial development as a cornerstone of development, with competitive activities becoming the engine for export growth, employment creation and income generation. However, its plan and strategy documents show that it is fully aware of current technological shortcomings (Republic of Kenya, 1996, 1997). To quote some relevant passages: Kenya’s industrialisation process will not be easily achieved in practice. Unlike the NICs, which industrialised under protected domestic markets, Kenya is attempting to achieve the same result with a liberalised market. Markets are also rapidly being globalised and the new information technologies are creating new uncertainties and opportunities. In addition, whereas the current NICs industrialised in high growth regions, Kenya is attempting to industrialise in a region with a tradition of low growth. To industrialise in such an environment, Kenyan manufacturers will have to produce goods and services that are internationally competitive in both quality and price . . . The process of industrialisation will include a ‘deepening’ of the industrial sector by creating core and linkage industries, as well as acquiring and adapting relevant technologies to enhance factor productivity. (Republic of Kenya, 1997, p. 23) It goes on to emphasize the role of R&D in industrial development: Research and development (R&D) plays a key role in industrialisation by facilitating the identification, characterisation and development of material bases, new products and new processes for industrial activities. Its application in generating improved technologies will influence the effective utilisation of local resources . . . The vision to transform Kenya into a NIC...
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