Africa: Masisi Urges African States to Better Utilise IP

Gaborone — Having been practicing and trading in Intellectual Property (IP) in a traditional setting for long, African states now need to apply its modern methods and harness it to grow their economies, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.

Addressing the 19th Session of the Council of Ministers of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) Council of Ministers in Gaborone on November 24, President Masisi said the theme of the gathering, IP For Economic Growth, prompted action from the continent.

He said the message resonated with Botswana’s National Vision 2036 aspiration of becoming a high income country anchored on a knowledge-based economy, and said for this to be achieved, IP was a key component that could help drive the country and continent’s economic fortunes.

Dr Masisi said ARIPO member states; Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Botswana, with the support of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), carried out studies to measure the economic contribution of copyright industries, and in all cases it was found that the creative sector competes well with traditional sectors in its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment.

“The contribution to the GDP ranges between 3.46 to 5.46 per cent, while with regard to employment it stood between 2.66 to 5.63 per cent. My question is, as ARIPO member states, how do we ensure that we grow and reap maximum benefits from this sector?”

He added that African states had always been creating arts and music. “Africa has always been designing products. We are still innovating and creating protectable International Property works. Therefore, we need to introspect and see what we are not doing right that hinders our creativity from growing to global standards and impacting our communities and the world.”