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R&D institutions

Let us move now from aggregated data, to data from individual entities, most of which we shall ultimately consolidate. Our procedure will be, first, to present the material for the institutions we studied, one by one. Next we will add any material available on the institutions that did not enter into our sample of cases. Finally we will combine all the data so as to obtain a synthetic measure of the intensity of Kenya's pursuit of science and technology. (One last indicator of the country's endeavour - university education in science and technology, will be left until later in this chapter.)

Table 4.10 Kenya: scientists, engineers and technicians in the labour force 1982

  Total number of scientists and engineers Total number of technicians Total Scientists and engineers per million of the population Technicians per million of the population Total per million of the population
Kenya 16,241 45,962 62,203 901 2,551 3,451
Burkina Faso n.a. n.a. n.a. 170 206 376
Cameroon n.a. n.a. n.a. 93 n.a. n.a.
Cte d'Ivoire n.a. n.a. n.a. 306 209 515
Guinea n.a. n.a. n.a. 253 121 374
Mali n.a. n.a. n.a. 344 187 531
Mauritania n.a. n.a. n.a. 194 324 618
Niger n.a. n.a. n.a. 114 248 362
Senegal n.a. n.a. n.a. 453 618 1,071

UNESCO, 1990. Statistical Yearbook 1990, Tables 5.2 and 5.17

The first three entities that we will describe are R&D institutions, the first in the field of agriculture, the second in the field of industry, and the third in both (or neither). The government R&D institutions in agriculture are described in three papers by Simons (Simons 1989a (January), Simons 1989b (July) and Simons and Gitu, 1989), but the agricultural R&D institute that we studied lay outside the government: it is the Coffee Research Foundation, a component of the para-statal Coffee Board of Kenya.

With an annual budget of approximately KShs 80 million the Coffee Research Foundation is the largest non-governmental R&D institution in Kenya. Established during the colonial period and staffed initially by foreign scientists, the Coffee Research Foundation was transferred at the time of independence to the newly formed government. The government, in turn, in 1963 leased the land, buildings and equipment to the para-statal Coffee Board of Kenya, under which the Research Foundation operates and for which the Foundation undertakes all Kenya's R&D in coffee. Over the years, Kenyans have replaced foreign scientists and administrators, and have taken over running the research programmes, stations, and commercial plantations.

The Coffee Research Foundation has its laboratories at Ruiru, 17 kilometres to the west of Nairobi, as well as a plantation, 'Azania' (in Juja, in a coffee-growing zone on the eastern escarpment of the Rift Valley), four sub-stations and several demonstration plots. Activities are divided into seven main divisions: Plant Pathology (coffee berry disease, leaf rust and bacterial blight), Coffee Breeding, Agronomy, Chemistry and Processing, Crop Physiology, Entomology and Agricultural Economics. The breeding of new varieties of coffee for disease resistance is a continuing challenge; one particularly successful new variety, Ruiri 11, has proven itself impervious to coffee berry disease.

Three-quarters of the income of the Coffee Research Foundation is derived from a levy of 1 per cent on the sales of Kenya's coffee through the Coffee Board. The Coffee Board augments the levy with smaller amounts for specific projects (another one-sixth of the total) and the Foundation itself makes up the balance through sales of coffee beans from its plantation and charges to coffee planters for special services. Table 4.11 provides some data on the Foundation's revenues and costs for the five fiscal years 1987/8-1991/2. From 1987/8-1989/90 revenues rose by less than, and costs by more than, the rate of inflation, so that the budget moved from being in surplus to being in deficit. The estimated deficit of KSh10 million for 1989/90 compares with the Coffee Research Foundation's Director's subsequent estimates of KSh12 million, for the same year 1989/90, KSh15 million for the following year 1990/1, and KSh37 million for 1991/2, given current commitments and anticipated revenues.

Table 4.11 Kenya: budgets for the Coffee Research Foundation, 1987/8-1991/2 (millions of current KSh)

Budget item 1987/8 (actual) 1988/9(a) (actual) 1989/90 (actual) 1990/1 (budget) 1991/2 (estimates)
Coffee Board subvention 41.1 55.3 65.4 n.a. n.a.
Other Coffee Board payments for special projects 14.1 15.1   21.0(c) 30.4(c)
Proceeds from sale of coffee beans 12.4 5.3 7.6 17.3 15.3
Other revenues 1.7 2.0 2.0 1.5 1.0
Total revenues 69.4 76.7 75.0 101.4(d) 127.2(d)
Recurrent(b) 42.7 46.5 55.5 60.8 64.3
Capital n.a. 6.4 9.9 7.6 16.5
Special projects 14.2 15.0 19.6 21.0 30.4
Total expenditures n.a. 68.0 85.0 89.4 111.2
Surplus or (deficit) n.a. 8.7 (10.0) (12.0)d (15.0)d

1987/8-1988/9 Coffee Research Foundation, Annual Report and Accounts 1988-1989
1989-1991/2: Government of Kenya, Programme Review and Forward Budget, 1990/1-1992/3

(a) There is a typographical mistake of 1 million Shillings in one of the revenue items. The total revenue is correct
(b) Recurrent expenses include, in 1987/8 and 1988/9, miscellaneous expenses and audit fees
(c) It is assumed that revenues granted for special projects will equal budgeted expenditures
(d) Estimated

Increasing deficits are not surprising, in light of the secular fall in the price of coffee, vis vis other traded products. With a fixed levy of 1 per cent of the Coffee Board's revenues from the sale of coffee, the Foundation's revenues will fall pari pasu. The Foundation is therefore in a quandary; it must either reduce expenditures or seek additional income. Assuming the latter course is preferred, additional income could come from a transfer of 'Regular' projects to the category of 'Special' projects, for which specific funds are allocated by the Coffee Board itself, or by the Government of Kenya. Income could also come from foreign donors, whose assistance has not yet been sought. Finally, additional funds could be raised by increasing the levy to, say, 1.5 per cent: it could be argued that this percentage is still less than the figure of 2 per cent of revenues which Kenya's National Council for Science and Technology has set as its goal for the country's R&D efforts.

That the Coffee Research Foundation's income is short of what is needed can be seen from another two sets of data; the one on turnover of scientific personnel and the other from a partial list of underfunded projects. In 1988/9, four scientists left (Coffee Research Foundation, 1989: 4); over the ten years 1981-1991 resignations of scientists were 39 in number (interview 18 September 1991). Half those leaving had served for several years or more, the other half only long enough - two to three years - to complete their advanced degrees or win study tours abroad, or both. The majority of those who left took equivalent positions at higher salaries in Kenya, or emigrated, chiefly to Zambia and Botswana, at still higher salaries.

The other indication of insufficient funds for R&D is a list, obtained during interview, of shortfalls in the funds granted in response to project requests. Still needed, in 1991, were KSh2 million for seed multiplication in the plant breeding programme; KSh8 million for equipment in the pest control project; KSh2 million for equipment and KSh3 million for annual expenses in the soil and leaf analysis; KSh3 million for basic equipment in the coffee processing machinery workshop (the workshop itself was funded in 1988/9 within the capital budget: see Table 4.11); and KSh2 million for coffee testing: in total KSh20 million, or roughly one-fifth in addition to what was spent in the year.

The second R&D organization that constituted one of our case studies is the Kenya Industrial R&D Institute (abbreviated KIRDI). Like the Coffee Research Foundation, KIRDI's origin lies in the colonial period, when in 1942, the East African Industrial Research Organization was established to develop local industries, with the objective of relieving shortages brought about by World War II. After the collapse of the East African Community in 1977, the Kenyan government first transferred the Organization to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and then, two years later, gave it autonomy.

KIRDI employee approximately 270 persons in Nairobi, the facilities consisting of several workshops, laboratories and offices. Its statutory duties include:

1 identifying and developing appropriate process and product technologies to suit the local market and export potential;

2 exploring the possibilities of substituting imported raw materials and intermediate goods with indigenous materials

3 designing, developing and adapting machinery, tools, equipment and instruments and processes suitable for introduction and use in the rural areas:

4 developing suitable treatment/recovery processes and devices to reduce environment hazard created by industrial wastes and effluents;

5 setting up pilot plants where necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of industrial technology; and

6 acting as consultants to industry in the provision of industrial information and technical services, and if necessary to commercialize the relevant research findings.

For more detail, see Mwamadzingo, 1991: 50-9.

In fulfilment of these duties, KIRDI divides itself into four divisions: Analytical and Testing, Design and Engineering, Process and Product Development, and Project Studies and Development (primarily market research). A better idea of the work undertaken can be gathered from a description of KIRDI's workshops and laboratories: there is a mechanical workshop, a leather technology laboratory, a ceramics laboratory and workshop, a microbiology laboratory and a chemical laboratory.

Funding for KIRDI comes from two major and one minor sources; the Government of Kenya and foreign donors, in roughly equal amounts, and, in much lesser amount, KIRDI's own consulting fees and charges. Expenditures for the seven fiscal years 1986/7-1991/3 are given in Table 4.12; revenues are approximately equal to expenditures. The first observation from the data in the table is that the three years 1986/7-1988/9 display capital expenditures that are falling steadily in nominal terms and at an even greater rate in real terms. Recurrent costs, typically 85 per cent of which are wages and salaries (personal emoluments, gratuities and pensions, housing allowance, and travel to and from work) rise in line with the cost of living. In the next year, 1989/90, even recurrent costs fell chiefly through a reduction in laboratory equipment and supplies. Capital expenditures continued their fall.

Table 4.12 Kenya: budgets of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) 1986/7-1992/3 (millions of current KSh)

Budget item Expenditure 1986/7 Expenditure 1987/8 Expenditure 1988/9 Expenditure 1989/90 Expenditure 1990/1 Estimates 1991/2 Estimates 1992/3
Recurrent costs 13.9 16.2 22.7 22.5 25.6 28.3 29.8
Development (Capital) Expenditures              
Project Studies and Research 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0
Plant and Equipment 0.2 0.1 0.9 0.6 0.2 1.2 1.4
Construction of Research Labs. 10.5 10.3 7.0 4.0 2.5 10.0 10.0
Leather Pilot Project 0.2 0.0 1.4 2.6 0.1 0.2 0.2
Mechanical Engineering Project 0.4 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.2
Technical Engineering Project - - 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2
Power Alcohol Project - - 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.4
Technical Advisory Mission - - - 0.0 76.3 12.0 12.0
Total 11.4 10.4 10.1 7.6 79.4 24.1 24.6
Total Expenditures 25.3 26.6 32.8 30.1 105.0 52.4 54.4

Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute

It was in fiscal year 1990/1 that KIRDI's finances turned around, with an injection of KSh20 million from UNDP. This was the largest given by foreign donors, and was part of a sizeable grant of US$4 million from UNDP, extending over several years, and financing a new engineering workshop and equipment. In addition, UNIDO and the German Trust Fund supplied US$0.2 million for the leather project, most of which was spent in 1989/90; and the Canadian IDRC Can$70,000, expended in 1990/91. All together, foreign donations amounted to US$4.25 million, much of which was committed to the years 1989/90-1992/3. In the same four years, the Government of Kenya's total expenditure on KIRDI amounted to approximately US$5 million. (Total expenditures of KSh189.3 million, from Table 4.12, converted to US$ at an average exchange rate of KSh25 to US$1, less some US$2.5 million for that part of the foreign donations expended in those years.) This very rough calculation suggests that foreign donors are currently matching the expenditures of the Kenyan government on KIRDI. Another way of measuring the input of foreign donations is to notice, in Table 4.12, that it was only in 1990/1 that KIRDI's development (capital) expenditures once again nearly equalled KIRDI's current expenses. Properly equipped, as well as staffed, KIRDI can now hope to resume fulfilling its obligations.

The third R&D institution that it was hoped to study was the Agricultural Implements Manufacturers Ltd. located in Nakuru, a town in the Rift Valley 60 kilometres northwest of Nairobi. This enterprise was established in the mid-1980s with funds contributed by private firms; its function was to develop agricultural machinery which could be manufactured within the country and which would be appropriate for Kenyan farmers and processors. From the beginning the funds were inadequate, but with the recession in Kenyan industry (following the reduction of industrial exports to Tanzania and Uganda, and the increase in imports from the rest of the world), funds dried up completely, and the enterprise was abandoned. This terminated Kenya's first endeavour in privately sponsored R&D on appropriate technology.

Science and technology at the Kenyan universities

Public R&D in the realm of appropriate technology is concentrated in a different sort of institution, the Appropriate Technology Centre (ATC) of Kenyatta University. Initially a section within the Physics Department, in 1980 the ATC became a separate department within the Faculty of Science. There it received substantial funds from foreign agencies such as the Intermediate Technology Development Group, GTZ and UNICEF, and developed a famous cooking stove, the Kenya Ceramic Jeko, as well as other, minor products. Internally the ATC is divided into seven subject areas, viz. agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy, construction, water technologies, biomass and stove testing, and transport. Over the last four years, 1988/9-1991/2, its staff has varied from a low of 25, of whom 14 were technically trained, to a high of 42, of whom 25 were technically trained. Recent fluctuations in staffing numbers are high, in large part because of a dearth of financing: foreign assistance has ceased, so that the ATC has received funds only from Kenyatta University (KSh171,685 in 1988/9, of which 96 per cent was expended on wages and salaries; and KSh94,075 in 1989/90, of which 95 per cent was expended on wages and salaries). Operating under such constraint, the ATC's further contribution to the development of appropriate technologies has been minimal.

Science and technology continue to be pursued in Kenya's major institution of higher learning, the University of Nairobi. Inspecting the budgets of the University and of the institutes as a whole (see Table 4.13) one sees that funds for recurrent expenditures (primarily wages and salaries) approximate closely the sums authorized, whereas capital (development) expenditures often fall short of those authorized. One also sees that the University of Nairobi draws the largest proportion of foreign support.

Moving on to the internal budgets of the University of Nairobi, we find data under different headings, 'Estimates' and 'Actual'. It appears that the former refers to requests made by the University to the Ministry of Education, the latter to the funds expended during the year. The relation between the two provides an indication of the extent to which the relevant faculty of department is able to meet its needs, through financial subventions from the Kenyan government and from abroad.

Within the University of Nairobi it is probably the Science Faculty (including Veterinary Agriculture) and Medicine (including the College of Health Sciences) that have closest links with foreign institutions and that receive the largest donations. The generosity of foreigners has enabled the first of these faculties to expand to the point where it has 13 departments, and the second to the point where it has 16.

Table 4.14 gives the average ratio of expenditures to requests for two faculties, the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science, and for the latter's least favoured department, Mathematics. The mathematicians receive somewhat less than half the funds the University requests on their behalf, the scientists as a whole a little over two-thirds, and the engineers a little less than two-thirds. These are for recurrent expenditures; funds for capital expenditures are relatively even more generously supplied to the Engineering Faculty, in part through foreign donations.

Table 4.13 Kenya: budgets for university education and for the University of Nairobi (millions of K)a, 1986/87-1992/93

      1986/87 1987/88 1988/89 1989/90 1990/91 1991/92 1992/93
All universities: Recurrent expenditures Approved estimates 38.4 51.8 71.9 91.9 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Actual expenditures 38.1 54.8 73.3 84.4 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Development expenditures Approved estimates 12.1 20.7 47.1 53.7 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Actual expenditures 10.2 14.6 38.3 23.1 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Foreign assistance received   0.8 0.1 0.3 0.3 n.a. n.a. n.a.
University of Nairobi: Recurrent expenditures Approved estimates 16.9 20.3 26.3 23.4 31.5 33.0 34.7
Actual expenditures 16.4 20.3 25.8 21.9 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Development expenditures Approved estimates 2.8 1.2 0.4 11.2 7.1 1.7 1.4
Actual expenditures 2.0 0.8 4.4 5.9 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Foreign assistance received   0.6 0.1 0.3 0.3 2.7 1.7 1.4

University of Nairobi; 1990/1-1992/3 are projections
a Units of currency are Kenyan pounds, in each of which there are twenty shillings

Table 4.14 Kenya: actual expenditure on recurrent items as a fraction of requests, Faculties of Engineering and Science, and Department of Mathematics of the University of Nairobi, 1988/9-1990/91 (absolute figures in thousands of K)a

Branch of the University of Nairobi Actual expenditures as a fraction of requests
1988/1989 1989/1990 1990/1991
Faculty of Engineering 746/1,227 789/1,230 88711,281
= 0.61 = 0.64 = 0.69
Faculty of Science 1,711/2,450 1,748/2,470 1,853/2,695
= 0.70 = 0.71 = 0.69
Department of Mathematics 1501321 168/330 165/348
= 0.47 = 051 = 0.47

University of Nairobi
a Units of currency are Kenyan pounds, in each of which are twenty shillings

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