Nanotechnologies for Kenya’s Development. , Silversprings Hotel, Nairobi
The study, manipulation and design of materials and devices at level approaching atomic sizes has given rise to nanoscience and nanotechnology, with the former being concerned more with the new properties whereas the latter - nanotechnology focuses on new devices. The nanoscale science and technology involves and cuts across different disciplines. It is now recognized that science founded on the unified concepts on matter at the nanoscale is the new basis for knowledge creation, innovation, and technology integration, and therefore receiving heightened attention world over.
Arising from the current and potential impacts of nanoscience and nanotechnology in all facets of humanity – way of life, health and the environment, it is imperative that any country takes stock of the status of the two intertwined disciplines. For example, it is known that nanotechnology can improve efficiency in manufacturing, energy resources and utilization, reduce environmental impacts of industry and transportation, enhance healthcare, produce better pharmaceuticals, improve agriculture and food production, and expand the capabilities of information technologies. The level of preparedness of a country to create new knowledge, exploit it or absorb such, it will be seen depends on the synergistic relationships amongst all the stakeholders right from the beginning of the research, product development processes, and policy and legislative frameworks that protect the workers producing and consumers of such products.
A study of the Kenya’s situation reveals that so far there minimal understanding or appreciation of what nanoscience and nanotechnology are amongst the key stakeholders, and what their potential benefits are or would be. The teaching of and research in these areas and the accompanying infrastructure are weak and uncoordinated. The regulatory frameworks and policies governing, particularly the manufacturing processes of or nanoscale products are either nonexistent or very weak/inadequate.
Key words: Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, Research, Policies, Kenya