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Kenyan experts blame lack of value addition,
high energy cost for slow industrialization   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan experts on Wednesday blamed lack of value addition to locally produced resources and the high cost of electricity for the delay in the country’s industrialization.

Kenneth Chelule, Deputy Director of the Research, Technical and Innovation at the Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI), said the country stands a better chance of becoming an industrialized nation once it starts adding value to its products before exports.

“We need to add value to our tea, coffee and soap stones to help create jobs locally instead of exporting them raw abroad,” Chelule said during the national science week in Nairobi.

He observed that despite the efforts resulting into the country having a relatively larger industrial sector in the region, it has not functioned fully as the engine of economic growth.

“The sector has been inward looking and has had low value addition yet the agricultural and natural resources are readily available in plenty,” he added.

The official also blamed the cost of electricity as part of the problem that requires serious attention in line with industrialization plans.

Chulule said the country has several natural resources that are yet to be exploited to help create employment in large scale.

Mboi Misati, a Senior Patent Examiner and Head of Outreach, Research and Collaborations at Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), asked small scale entrepreneurs to adopt trademarks to enable them to sell their products abroad.

Misati observed that even though small scale entrepreneurs produce quality products, they lack trademark and therefore cannot be sold outside the country.

“In addition to availability of funding, local entrepreneurs are capable of helping minimize imports from other countries through the production of quality and tradable products abroad,” he added.

He, however, called for the development of innovative productions and the linkages with the academia to accelerate the industrial needs.

During the conference, participants asked the government to create an enabling environment for private sector-led industrial development and a business environment capable of attracting local and foreign investments for the sector growth and development. 

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