Building Innovative Ecosystems
Edited by John Sibley Butler and David V. Gibson
Chapter 2: Perspectives on Technology Transfer and Commercialization in Africa: A Focus on Kenya
2. Perspectives on technology transfer and commercialization in Africa: a focus on Kenya Kamau Gachigi, Paul Kukubo and Crispus M. Kiamba The piecemeal engineer will adopt the method of searching for, and fighting against, the greatest and most urgent evil of society, rather than searching for, and fighting for, its greatest ultimate good. Karl Popper 1 INTRODUCTION The basis for economic success in the world today is knowledge. The challenge for any nation seeking economic success can therefore be thought of as twofold: first, to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge from within (or without) its borders and second, to facilitate the conversion of that knowledge into benefits for its citizens by the most efficient means available. This is the essence of technology transfer. Not only is it necessary that these two conditions are met but that they are met consistently and competitively. An overview of the situation in Africa south of the Sahara is a Herculean task largely because of lack of data. It would therefore be misleading to present this chapter as comprehensive in detail; rather it seeks to describe the common practice on the continent where factors that influence policy making and implementation are concerned. A brief discussion is provided on some current thoughts and debates regarding what can be termed the challenge of Africa’s economic development, so as to contextualize the idea of technology transfer. Anecdotal examples are provided of activities toward technology transfer in a number of countries in terms of the scant data available. A...
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