IP systems development regional workshop for universities and research institutions for Africa opens in Harare

By Wallace Mawire

A two day sub-regional multi-stakeholders validation workshop on
elaboration of guidelines of Intellectual property (IP) policy and
strategy for an effective use of the IP system by Universities and
research and development (R&D) institutions in Africa has opened in
Harare today.

The workshop is being hosted by the African Regional Intellectual
property Organization (ARIPO) in collaboration with the World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

According to Fernando Dos Santos, ARIPO, Director General, the
validation workshop seeks to present the state of intellectual
property at institutions of higher learning and to present the draft
IP policy guidelines to participating countries for discussion and
validation of the WIPO-ARIPO policy guidelines.

The study received support from WIPO and the government of Japan.
Since 2013, ARIPO has been conducting seminars to promote IP
awareness with a view to enhancing the development and protection of
IP. It is reported that in the last three years, the initiative has
covered 15 countries and benefitted directly more than 2500

It is also said that during the seminars, ARIPO realized that most
of the universities and R&D institutions where more than 90% of
knowledge production is done do not have IP policies.
“It was also realized that despite these institutions being the hub
of knowledge creation, innovation and creativity, there is low
awareness of IP rights. The lack of IP awareness and policies can be
attributed to the low levels of IP rights filing in Africa,” Dos
Santos said.

He added that to counter this, it was deemed necessary to conduct a
situational analysis in some countries and establish how to attain the
effective use of IP by universities and R&D institutions in Africa.
Fidelis Maredza, Chief Registrar of Deeds for the Zimbabwe
government said at the official opening of the regional workshop that
Africa is faced with many challenges that impact negatively on
creativity and innovation. He said that such challenges include lack
of IP expertise, lack of relevant IP policies and legal frameworks
that can incentivize researchers and inventors to be creative and
innovative in generating IP.
He added that such creativity and innovation can result in creating
employment and businesses that contribute to economic development.

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