Editor’s Note: Andrew Ngurumi recently wrote this post on the blog on the inclusion of farmers in Kenya’s agricultural policy. The post generated healthy discussion and an insightful question arose from the debate. One of our readers asked, what should policymakers do? Specifically in light of Andrew’s article. Here is his analysis.Continue reading
In heavily mechanized and science-driven agriculture, on the one hand, it is assumed persons, mostly seed companies of an international pedigree, who breed, develop or discover a seed or a plant variety are producers while farmers are deemed to be consumers of plant breeders’ products through buying the seeds and planting the protected plant varieties. This dichotomy disregards the quintessential role of farmers from time immemorial to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed/propagating material in order to promote agrobiodiversity and food security and nutrition.Continue reading
An article by CIPIT researchers Dr. Isaac Rutenberg, Douglas Gichuki and Arthur Gwagwa titled: “Historical Antecedents and Paradoxes that Shaped Kenya’s Contemporary Information and Communication Technology Policies” has recently been published in the Harvard Africa Policy Journal available here. In the article, the authors retrace Kenya’s 5 decade long journey from independence to its present ‘Silicon Savannah’ status. Through an analysis of legislative and policy reforms in the area of information and communication technology (ICT), the authors argue that although Kenya has come a long way in introducing liberal market reforms that have immensely benefited the technology sector, policy challenges remain. In particular, the authors note as signs of relapse the passing of certain laws and introduced measures that restrict civil liberties, ostensibly as anti-terrorism measures, as well as to diffuse ethnic tensions.
Kenya’s vibrant technology sector is known for its innovations in software. The successes of M-PESA, a widely used mobile money transfer platform, and Ushahidi, a global crowdsourcing mapping app, has drawn international attention to the Kenyan startup scene. Supporting the startup scene are a number of tech hubs, incubators, and accelerators.
Software, however, can only be as innovative as the hardware it runs on. A growing network of makerspaces are training Kenyan innovators in the knowledge and skills to manufacture disruptive hardware solutions. What is the story of makerspaces in Kenya? What supports are available for hardware-based innovators? How effective are these makerspaces at promoting innovation? What methods are innovators using to share and protect their ideas?
In a recent blogpost titled “The Reports of the Death of Innovation are Somewhat Exaggerated” over at the newly revamped Afro-IP blog, CIPIT Director Dr. Isaac Rutenberg offers a response to this article published in one of the local dailies. Here is what Rutenberg had to say:
The article asks why innovation died in Kenya sometime around 1985, and proposes a number of possible contributing factors. It’s really quite insightful and thought-provoking, and many of the points are worth exploration.
Ambulances, Caitlin Dolkart, Capsule, East African start ups, Emergency, Flare, Flare by Capsule, Freemium, Fuzu, Kenyan Social Tech startups, Kenyan startups, Kenyan youth unemployment, Maria Rabinovich, Merck Accelerator Program, Technovation, Uber for ambulances, Unemployment in Kenya
Following our earlier post here on 5 Kenyan startups recognised globally for using digital technology to positively impact the society, this blogger has come across two Kenyan startups featured on a list of African startups to watch out for in 2017. These 2 Kenyan startups are: Fuzu and Flare. This post will highlight these startups and their use of modern technology to power their businesses.
Dr. Isaac Rutenberg (CIPIT Director) and Ms. Lillian Makanga (CIPIT Researcher) have co-authored a new peer-reviewed article titled: “Utility model protection in Kenya: The case for substantive examination” published in the African Journal of Information and Communication in late December 2016. A copy of the article is available online here. In the article, it is argued that a return to substantive examination of applications for utility model certificates (UMCs) would be on the whole beneficial to Kenya’s innovative ecosystem and the authors recommend that such examination be reinstated.
On 10 June 2015, the Agreement establishing a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was signed in Egypt bringing together 26 African countries from three major regional blocs namely the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Following the signing, the current phase of the TFTA negotiations is meant to cover ‘the built-in agenda’ in five areas namely: trade in services, cooperation in trade and development, competition policy, intellectual property (IP) rights and cross border investment. The fourth of those five areas was the subject of the second Open AIR East Africa Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) talk by Dr. Henry Mutai at Strathmore University.
Digital innovations, Digital Matatus, East African start ups, Illuminum Greenhouses, Kenyan Social Tech startups, Kenyan startups, Nominet Trust, NT100, OneUni, Open source MOOCs, Shujaaz, Social Tech innovations, Tunapanda Institute, Tunapanda Swag, Well Told story
Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading tech for good funder, has recently unveiled the 2016 NT100 – a celebration of the 100 most inspiring social innovations using digital technology to drive social change around the world. This blogger is pleased to note that 5 Kenyan startups made it onto the 2016 NT100 list. The 5 Kenyan startups that made it onto the list were OneUni, Digital Matatus, Illuminum Greenhouses, Tunapanda Institute and the Well Told Story.
by Moses Karanja**
This week CIPIT launched an Africa ICT Policies database available online here. The interactive database provides users with laws, policies, regulations, constitutions and background information to all 54 African countries while creating an opportunity for meaningful public participation in policy making processes. This is a critical resource for policy makers, governments, researchers, human rights defenders, telecommunication companies and virtually anyone interested in ICT policies.