The government might not keep its word to commit two per cent of the Gross Domestic Product towards research.

And now the State is calling on the private sector to fund the deficit.

A recent meeting resolved that the government was ready to provide the requisite two per cent for research and innovation, an equivalent of about Sh250 billion.

Prof Raphael Munavu, the chairman of the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation, said the private sector would boost the funding deficit in research.

“GDP is part of what you and I contribute and that is why we have to bring the private sector on board so that what they provide and that which is given by the government together can get to two per cent and even beyond,” Munavu said in Nairobi during the opening of a three-day conference on science and technology. He noted the need to diversify research funding to achieve groundbreaking innovations.

“In terms of resource mobilisation, can we rethink and restructure our funding. We have to look at how we can entice the private sector because this is what is being done in other countries,” he said.

According to Prof Walter Oyawa, the commission’s director general, the government currently provides 0.8 of the GDP to funding research and innovation. This represents about Sh100 billion.

This makes Kenya Africa’s second biggest spender on research and development after South Africa, which commits 0.85 per cent of its GDP.

“At the moment the amount set aside for research includes 47 per cent sourced from the private sector,” said Munavu.

In March, the National Research Fund unveiled a proposal to revamp the governing law in science, technology and innovation to provide up to two per cent of the GDP.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya, the country’s GDP stood at Sh13.5 trillion in 2022, thus two per cent of this would be Sh260 billion.

The proposal is contained in the Science, Technology and Innovation (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which is among 12 laws the government has proposed to change to reform the education sector.

The meeting also emphasised the need of the younger generation to invest in research and innovation.

In a previous interview, Oyawa said the government plans to have at least 60 per cent of learners under the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) join Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses at the senior secondary school.

The pioneer CBC class is currently in the junior secondary school Grade 8 and will be transiting to senior school in 2026 and university in 2029.

Further, he said, the government projects that 25 per cent of the learners will join humanities and 15 per cent creative studies.