A researcher prepares for a test at a national key laboratory of silkworm genome biology in Southwest University, Chongqing municipality, May 31, 2017. (Photo by CFP)
A researcher prepares for a test at a national key laboratory of silkworm genome biology in Southwest University, Chongqing municipality, May 31, 2017. (Photo by CFP)

Kenya plans to prioritize investment in research, technology and innovation in order to enhance competitiveness of the country’s products, a senior official said on Thursday.

Micheni Japhet Ntiba, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, told Xinhua that research is the key to enable Kenya to develop commercial products that can compete in the global market.

“By enhancing our research capacity, our scientists will be able partner with local manufacturers to produce goods and services that are of superior quality,” Ntiba said during the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) Employer Engagement Forum.

Ntiba said one of the reasons for the stagnation of the manufacturing sector is due to the influx of cheaper commodities from international markets.

“By investing in research, Kenya can come up with innovative goods at affordable prices,” he said.

He noted that globalization means that countries can longer deploy tariff and non-tariff barriers to protect their domestic producers from foreign competition and hence the urgent need for innovation.

The Kenyan government has allocated 30 million U.S. dollars for research for use by public agencies in 2018 in science, technology and innovation.

Ntiba said that there is political will to enhance the allocation for research in future in order to enable the country to achieve its target of investing in research equivalent of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

He noted that the private sector will also receive incentives to invest in research and innovation activities. Enditem

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