Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Commercialization of Local Research in COMESA
Kosimbei, George K.
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This study investigates the contribution of new knowledge and innovation as measured by the number of patents & scientific journals as well as the impact of total labour force on the manufacturing sector Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It employs the Fixed Effects method on a sample panel of 19 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Member States for the period 2008 to 2016. FE estimation technique is preferred so as to addresses heterogeneity bias problem resulting from any correlation that may exist between the regressors and the country-specific effects. The results show that number of science journals and mobile cellular subscriptions are important factors in generating growth in manufacturing sector output in COMESA Member States. The young population is expected to gain by undertaking research and participating in its commercialization in the manufacturing sector. Access to mobile phones and ICT services plays a key role in sharing academic knowledge and research outputs with the manufacturers. These findings are consistent with results from other studies such as Mansfield (1997) and Vandenbussche et al. (2006) who established a positive association between scientific research and firms’ performance. These findings lead to the recommendation that COMESA Member States need to incentivize the youth to participate in research carried out by universities and public research institutes. This will also lead to commercialization of research output as some of the research involves invention of new products. There is also need to increase research funding and set up incubation centers to facilitate incubation and commercialization of innovative research outputs. In addition, there is need for support for provision of quality tertiary education that contextualizes research, innovation and entrepreneurship.