Failing to Compete
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Failing to Compete

Technology Development and Technology Systems in Africa

Sanjaya Lall and Carlo Pietrobelli

This unique study draws on extensive fieldwork assessing technology systems in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe in the context of their export competitiveness. Its emphasis is on the role of technology systems in building industrial competitiveness and in this it finds deficiencies in the systems in all these countries, though there are also significant differences between them. Comparisons are made with more successful economies, particularly those of East Asia, and policy implications are drawn for the strengthening of technology support systems. Central to the book is its combination of academic analysis with a strong policy focus – policy implications are drawn for each case-study country.
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Chapter 3: Kenya

Technology Development and Technology Systems in Africa

Sanjaya Lall and Carlo Pietrobelli


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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