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Intellectual Property Rights in Kenya: Ignoring the Goose that could lay the Golden Egg

Enforcement of Intellectual property Rights in Kenya remains an arduous despite the presence of elaborate legislation concerning them. Most of the owners are not aware of the laws put in place to protect their property rights while enforcement have little understanding of them, and most often than not are reluctant to implement the laws. It is the reason why some artists sign off their rights without reading the content of the documents they are signing. Further, some enforcement officers don’t see the sense of copyright owners complaining, for instance, when books are photocopied and yet the books are still in the shop. This paper aims to look at what ails the Intellectual Property Rights System in Kenya and the potential impact on the country’s economy. 

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Bitter Sugar: How Government Policy Has Left The Kenyan Sugar Industry In Chaos

From the colonial days to present day, the sugar industry has been an integral component of the Kenyan economy. It has grown in significance over the years, in the present day the sector contributes about 15 percent to the country’s agricultural GDP, the industry also supports around 250,000 small businesses, workers and farmers. An estimated 25 percent of the country’s population depends directly or indirectly on the sugar industry for their livelihood. While facing stiff competition from international sugar producers, the Kenyan government has pursued mercantilist policies in order to protect domestic sugar producers and enforces consumption of domestically produced sugar through a myriad of policy tools. Whereas this policy approach has seemed politically prudent and expedient, it has come at the cost of a vibrant and competitive sugar sector. This paper chronicles the role of the state, through its policy tools and instruments in altering the incentive structure for various players in the sugar sector. This analysis is examined from the prism of four distinct but at times overlapping policy regimes: the State Centric Regime, the SAPs Liberalism regime, the mixed market regime and the COMESA Regime. While many past studies have analyzed the general state and the technical malaise in the sugar industry in Kenya, very few researchers have sought to proximate the role of the state in the performance of the industry. This paper adopts an institutional approach to depict the evolution of state involvement in Kenya’s sugar industry, as well as explore the ramifications and unintended consequences of state interventions.

 

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Struggling With formal And Informal Trade Barriers

Formal and informal trade barriers remain major obstacles to economic growth and social development in the East African Community (EAC). In the World Economic Freedom Report 2013, EAC countries -- Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda -- ranked in the bottom 60 in the freedom-to-trade index among the 152 countries surveyed.i Although tariffs on major commodities have declined significantly under the East Africa Common Market Protocol (EACMP), which aims at the “free movement of people, goods, services and capital”, economic models consistently show that trade between East African economies falls far short of its potential.ii That potential is being thwarted by a variety of impediments to free trade among the region’s economies. Further trade liberalization in East Africa requires not only reducing duties but also getting rid of trade barriers of all kinds. Moreover, intraregional trade will not flourish without eliminating licensing fees, complex custom procedures, and delays at borders, even if these are not explicitly intended to impede trade. Thus a well-integrated transport infrastructure and improved logistical performance are critical for the EAC’s further trade integration and economic development. We believe that government initiatives, including the EACMP, have not effectively addressed nontariff barriers that continue to cost millions of dollars in waste to businesses and consumers every year. In this paper we examine the challenges that trucking businesses, the most important inland facilitators of trade, face when operating along two major EAC corridors. Further analysis will address concrete steps to assist the EAC in decreasing transportation obstacles in order to permit more inland trade.

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