By Lovemore Chazingwa
The quest for bringing out Africa’s economic potential and sustainable growth through investment from abroad can be tapped as a result of properly protected Intellectual Property (IP), a regional workshop heard.
In it’s opening remarks at the high level workshop held at Africa Regional Intellectual Property Rights Organisation headquarters December 5 last year, the organisation emphasised the need for protected IP rights for enhanced growth of the African economies.
The workshop was driven under the theme ‘Importance of Intellectual Property management in Universities and Research and Development Institutions in Africa’.
“In order to promote investment from abroad, it is important to promote an environment in which industrial property such as patent and trademark are properly protected,” said the regional IP rights body.
The regional organisation tallied investment from abroad to greater impetus in the structural development of the economies on a wider scale as there is a cardinal relationship between investment from abroad and indigenous economic growth.
Observed the powerful organ: “This will lead to not only encouraging investment from abroad but also bringing out the economic potential of the African region, thereby driving sustainable economic growth in African countries.”
Private-sector investments are also vital wind under capacity building wings within the field of industrial property. Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), a multilateral and open forum that generates innovative discussions on African development.
Said the workshop: “In recent years , promoting private-sector investments is one of the main agendas for the TICAD, which was launched by Japan as a multilateral and open forum that generates innovative discussions for African development.”
To demonstrate the seriousness of work apportioned to TICAD, the Government of Japan (GoJ), a decade ago, announced the establishment of Japan Fund-in-Trust for Africa (JFITA) at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in order to support capacity building in the field of industrial property.”
The human resource component in sync with the task at hand was not thrown out of the window. It is accorded protected attention. A total of 1 000 personnel were capacitated to speed up IP awareness among publics.
JFITA is a multi-faceted vehicle with foremost aims that include, but are not limited to, firstly, raise public awareness on the importance of the industrial property system, secondly, support the target countries in establishing and enhancing laws and organisations involved with industry property and thirdly, develop human resources who are involved in utilisation of industrial property rights in the African region.
“Moreover, at the TICAD VI held in Nairobi, Kenya (2016), the GoJ announced that it would provide training to 1 000 people over a period of three years between 2016 and 2018, in order to promote public awareness on IP system in Africa,” the workshop noted. The workshop is a beneficiary of that training commitment.
Going forward, TICAD 7 will be held in August this year in Yokohama, Japan. That reverberates with Japan’s sustainable effort in promoting private-sector investments, including the protection of industrial property.
The workshop was graced by members of the diplomatic corps notably Ambassadors to Zimbabwe from the Republics of Ghana, Malawi and Mozambique, IP experts from African Universities, Research and Development Institutions, MIP students and members of the media.
The workshop was successfully put together by Japan Patent Office (JPO), ARIPO and WIPO.