For use of information media - Not an official record

08 July 2007

The contents of this press release and the related Report must not be quoted or
summarized in the print, broadcast or electronic
media before 19 July 2007, 17:00 GMT
(1 PM New York, 19:00 Geneva)

History has shown repeatedly that research and development or the adoption of technology and methods from other sources can lead to accelerated economic growth. . . but for LDCs that is a stiff challenge. The adoption of such tactics has been limited.

Bangladesh has a very low research capacity. It devotes only 0.6% of its GDP to research and development (as compared to 0.8% in other developing countries). Its university-level school enrolment ratio is 6.5% (compared to 23% in other developing countries), and although the number of scientific and technical journal articles it produced in 1999 was the highest of all LDCs (177) that total was a third lower than the average for developing countries in general.

The Least Developed Countries Report 2007 (1) contains a case study, based on 155 local firms, which assess the role of innovation -- defined as the application of practices and production methods that are new to a firm -- in agro-processing, textiles and pharmaceuticals firms. The results indicate that a large number of local firms considered themselves to be involved in new product/process innovations. . . but half the agro-processing firms, 96% of the pharmaceutical firms, and 55% of the textile firms surveyed considered licensing, technology transfers, and technology sourcing through foreign subsidiaries to be of very little importance for new product/process innovations at their own firms. Only 4% of agro-processing businesses, 2% of pharmaceutical firms and 7% of firms in the textile sector considered intellectual property rights (IPR) protection to be of any use.

The most important sources of innovation were attributed to firms´ own indigenous innovation efforts, to imitation, or to copying from other firms. Furthermore, it was found that skilled manpower and good local infrastructure played an important role in promoting innovations and that Government incentives -- in the form of cash incentives based on export performance -- were important for the textile and agro-processing sectors.

Bangladesh is exempt from implementing the general provisions of the Agreement of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) until 2013 and has a further extension until 2016 for implementing TRIPS provisions on patents on pharmaceutical products and related processes. Nonetheless, the country is working towards gradual compliance with the TRIPS and has a bilateral agreement with the EU to make Bangladeshi intellectual property institutions and legislation TRIPS-compliant by 2013.

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1. The Least Developed Countries Report 2007: Knowledge, Technological Learning and Innovation for Development (Sales No. E.07.II.D.8, ISBN 978-92-1-112717-1) may be obtained from UN sales offices at the addresses below or from UN sales agents in many countries. Price US$ 50.00, and at a special price of US$ 18.00 in developing countries and countries in transition). Please send orders or enquiries for Europe, Africa and Western Asia to United Nations Publication/Sales Section, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, fax: +41 22 917 0027, e-mail: unpubli@un.org ; and for the Americas and Eastern Asia, to United Nations Publications, Two UN Plaza, DC2-853, New York, NY 10017, USA, tel: +1 212 963 8302 or +1 800 253 9646, fax: +1 212 963 3489, e-mail: publications@un.org . Internet: http://www.un.org/publications .

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