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Kenyan innovators and researchers need more support to patent their work, says an editorial in Business Daily Africa.

Since 2001, only ten products have been registered with the Kenyan patent office and none of them are from institutions of higher learning. But these very institutions should be spearheading innovation in Kenya, says the editorial.

It argues that a key issue is building awareness of the need — and benefit — of innovators and researchers patenting their work to protect it from foreign interests.

A sound industrial base relies on manufacturing locally-invented products and marketing them for export, says the editorial. Authorities should be offering academics incentives to pursue projects that promise practical solutions to local problems.

But university laboratories also have a role to play, says the editorial, by collaborating with manufacturers to identify gaps in production processes.

Engaging people from outside established research centres could also help protect innovation, argues the editorial. Recognising traditional knowledge and incorporating breakthroughs in fields such as traditional medicine into organised research processes would help speed up discoveries.

Link to full article in Business Daily Africa