26th maj, 2008

Inventions gathering dust in Africa

Via Afro IP I read this article on the problem of making business out of inventions. the problem is obviously bigger in Africa than in the more developed parts of the world because Africa relies to a large extent on external funding.This funding is given for research only and not for commercialisation. As it is said in the article: In this context, the products and ideas sitting on African universities do not find the power to jump from the benches of university and research laboratories  to supermarket shelves, and shops, and eventually to people’s homes.

The solution to the problem is not obvious: Governments in Africa has a lot of problems to adress before they support R&D, African banks are not big supporters of innovation which leaves the inventors with big multinationals. The problem in that is that the multinationals commercialise for the developed world and not the developing, which means that the innovation does not lead to new products on the african market.

The way off the shelves is partnerships says tha articles authors Macharia Waruingi and Jean Njoroge. Partnerships between the multinationals and local companies could ensure that innovation leads to local products as well as global.  

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