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Developing countries are showing increasing interest in the potential of nanotechnology for industrial development, but they need to build their own capacity.  Ahmad Bsiesy, a professor of physics microelectronics based in Grenoble, explains how this may be done through education and research targeted at assessing local needs. However, the process is not straightforward and there are logistical, political and economic challenges to face to allow the implementation of nanotechnology in emerging economies.