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Title: Intellectual property rights and their influence on ICT innovations in Kenya
Author: Waruingi, Joseph Karanja
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 2128
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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This research looks at ICT innovations and their potential to change and elevate a country's growth and enhance global competitiveness. The objectives in this research are determining the innovators understanding of IP, IPRs, exploring the role and support of international ICT companies in Kenyans ICT innovations with focus on IPs and exploring government's role in promoting ICT innovations and protecting the innovators through enforcement of IP laws. I have looked at ICT innovators and the challenges they are facing through fact finding by use of research questionnaires both quantitative for innovators and qualitative for government officials, IP lawyers and ICT industry experts. The key findings suggest the Kenyan ICT innovators need to read and understand IP and the laws available to protect their innovators. International companies have a key role of developing and transferring knowledge to local innovators and investing in local innovations. The government needs to play its role to ensure responsive and practical IP laws and IP policy. The involvement by government of academia and business will provide a platform to lobby government on appropriate IP policies. The causal conditions that affect the innovators, from little knowledge of patents to weak enforcement of IP laws and the potential and real loss of IPs and subsequent loss of government revenues and means of livelihood have led me to conclude that this research is significant both for academic purposes and for providing potential solutions to these challenges. Such solutions would have a direct impact on the Kenyan economy given the significance of ICTs in Kenya's GDP growth. The capability to innovate and to bring such innovations successfully to market continues to be increasingly a crucial determinant of global competitiveness of nations over the coming decades. There is growing awareness among policymakers in governments that innovative activity is and will become the main driver of economic progress and well being as well as a potential factor in meeting global challenges in many domains such as health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation among other domains. Innovation has not only moved to the center-stage in economic policy making, but there is a critical realization that a coordinated, coherent, whole-of-government approach is necessary and will be required to ensure nations succeed in tapping their innovation potential for national growth and global competitiveness. I adopted purposive sampling since the target population has certain characteristics and knowledge of and align with the research objectives. Purposive sampling is a non-probability sampling method and the sample is elected based on the researcher's judgment, which saves time and money. A sample of 37 innovators responded to the quantitative questionnaire and for the qualitative research 3 IP lawyers, the CEO of a copyright protection agency, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of ICT and 3 executives of the ICT industry responded to the questionnaire. A pilot test was carried out on volunteers to test the veracity and in-depth coverage of the questionnaires, which led to further improvements. The design of the questionnaires was focused on getting responses on how well if at all the research participants understand IP laws that currently exist how lack of knowledge of such laws has impacted them. During data collection, I was keen to know about the innovators' interaction with international ICT companies and whether they have assisted them to understand IPs and how to apply them. Government is critical in formulation, enactment and enforcement of IP laws. The research questions have focused on government's role in the promotion and protection of innovations. There were delays in obtaining information from several government agencies, which eventually became available, but after significant loss of time. The subsequent generation of a lot of data, presented limitations of trying to achieve a balance between data analysis paralysis and data analysis that is succinct. This research has highlighted the potential areas for government to provide financial support, preferential procurement opportunities and tax incentives to innovators. The government comprehensive intellectual property Policy and strategy would address IP policy coherence and assist in the integration of IP in the national development strategies and plans such as the Vision 2030. This will also ensure IP cuts across government ministries, departments and agencies because of its cross-sectoral nature.
Supervisor: Amoo, Nii ; Ramsey, Caroline Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral