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Sovereignty and development: law and the politics of traditional knowledge in Kenya

Harrington, John ORCID:, Deacon, Harriet and Munyi, Peter 2021. Sovereignty and development: law and the politics of traditional knowledge in Kenya. Critical African Studies 13 (1) , pp. 95-114. 10.1080/21681392.2021.1884108

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This article investigates the justifications for Kenya’s pioneering 2016 legislation to protect the interests of communities in their traditional knowledge. Drawing on parliamentary, governmental and media sources, it argues that law reform was underpinned by political concerns about the exploitation of valuable resources by foreign concerns. This problematization of traditional knowledge in terms of national sovereignty and development defines the scope of the legislation and leads to a number of important shortcomings and contradictions. It puts the nation state at the heart of the legal regime, limiting enforcement to the national territory and giving authorities ultimate the power to override community decisions. While the legislation should be adjusted to address these issues, we also suggest that communities should pursue non-legal alternatives, including the encouragement of ethical commercial conduct through media campaigns and licensing agreements.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles
ISSN: 2168-1392
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 January 2021
Date of Acceptance: 12 January 2021
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 20:07

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