Invest in intellectual property to drive growth - A-G urges Africa Intellectual Property Organisations
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has urged member states of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) to invest in education and research to drive economic growth in their respective countries.
He said Africa needed to build capacities in the intellectual property (IP) ecosystem in order to bring innovative IP closer to businesses, research institutions, women and the youth.
The minister said such interventions would help create a conducive environment for creativity and innovative activities in research institutions, universities and the business community.
ARIPO is an inter-governmental organisation responsible for cooperation among African states in patent and other intellectual property matters.
This was contained in an address read on behalf of the A-G at the opening of a regional workshop on intellectual property rights and innovation in Accra yesterday.
The three-day event which is on the theme: "The use of IP rights to foster innovation within ARIPO member states," is aimed at raising awareness of the significance of intellectual property, particularly how it fuels technological innovations to drive human progress and creative arts scenes to enrich lives.
Participants included representatives from government agencies, industry, small businesses and members of academia of member states who are discussing how to utilise information to foster innovation to promote economic growth.
It is being organised by ARIPO, in collaboration with the Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in Africa (AfriPI), the Registrar-General’s Department of the Ministry of Justice, Ghana, with support from the EU.
Mr Dame said that the Global Innovation Index (GII) Report 2023, released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) last week, showed that most countries in sub-Saharan Africa performed badly in innovation trends.
He said Mauritius, which was the 57th, led the region, followed by South Africa, 59th, and Botswana, 85th, while many African economies ranked between 70th to 132nd.
Ghana was ranked 99th.
“The GlI provides in particular ARIPO member states with an invaluable benchmarking tool to leverage innovation for economic prosperity and social development in various countries,” the minister said.
The A-G also said that the WIPO survey of attitude towards intellectual property (IP) around the world found that respondents in all regions saw IP as a key tool for ensuring fair rewards for innovators.
He said intellectual property rights formed the bedrock of innovators and creators as they safeguarded their inventions, literary works, trademarks and designs, among others.
“In recent times enterprises and economies are increasingly using innovation to drive growth, with asset creation increasingly shifting from tangibles to intangibles.
“Intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs and trade secrets, among others, are estimated to be worth over $70 trillion,” the minister added.
The Registrar-General of the Ministry of Justice, Grace Issahaque, said studies had shown that IP-intensive industries supported jobs and growth and also outspaced gains.
“And it is time that IP offices demystify intellectual property and help innovators and creators gain practical IP skills,” she said.
The Director-General of ARIPO, Bemanya Twebaze, urged members states to adopt the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the African Union Agenda 2063.
He said those instruments served as a blueprint and master plan of transformation, placing innovation at the front and centre of required solutions, adding that “the goals can be achieved by mainstreaming intellectual property”.