By Otieno Owino (ScienceAfrica Reporter)
Two percent of GDP to fund research and development provided in the Science, Technology and Innovation Act
Kenya has taken the lead in Africa with its allocation two percent of the GDP for research and development activities. It is a promise that as eluded the continent for the last four decades despite endless pledges by leaders. It is the strongest indicator that Kenya intends to be a leader in science technology and innovation in Africa while preparing to catch up with Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea among others which it was at per with in the 1960s.

According to newly appointed principal secretary in the ministry of education, science and technology, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi “the government is committed to fund research and development by two per cent of the GDP annually as provided for by the Science Technology and Innovation Act and this will contribute towards attainment of its middle income status.” In a speech read on his behalf by a senior ministry official, Dr Roy Mugiira, Prof Kaimenyi said that government was committed to funding R&D activities.

Two other autonomous bodies created by the act are the National Innovation Agency and the National Research Fund “The National Innovations Agency will be particularly instrumental in providing legal framework for the public-private sector partner-ships and linkages between academia, research, industry and the community,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

The two percent, says Prof Shaukat Abdulrazak, the chief executive officer of the National Commission on Science and Technology, could translate to about 60 billion shillings for research and development activities. This is double the minimum threshold set by Africa.

After 36 years as the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), Kenya’s top body charged with promotion, coordination, regulation and advice on all Science, Technology and Innovation matters has acquired a wider mandate and a new status as a commission.

As stipulated by the Science Technology and Innovation Act 2013, the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) has succeeded the NCST acquiring all its rights, assets and liabilities.

The officials were speaking during a ceremony to officially mark the new status NACOSTI and the awarding of ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems certification. NACOSTI also unveiled a new logo during the colorful ceremony held in Nairobi hotel.

The event was attended by various stakeholders from the industry, academia, government, research institution heads, private sectorand international developmentpartners. (Don’t Miss Next Issue focusing on Africa’s Best National Commission of Science and Technology)