Intellectual property is a key driver for social and economic development as it encourages creativity and competitiveness at the same time protecting consumers.
Speaking at the official opening of the 18th session of the Council of Ministers of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) in Victoria Falls yesterday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said organisations such as Aripo should create an enabling environment to bridge the socio-economy gap that exists between Africa and the rest of the world.
“Through organisations such as Aripo, we must therefore create an enabling intellectual environment to bridge the socio economy divide that exists between our continent and the rest of the developed world. The present generation of African leaders is determined to ensure that Africa plays its part and seizes the opportunities emanating from the advent of the fourth industrial revolution’
“This entails that we be better prepared to leapfrog and compete with other developed jurisdictions,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa said that it was imperative for Africa to build ecosystems and structures that fully support creativity and innovation in schools, universities, industry and within communities in general.
The President said that such initiatives should be pursued swiftly because the world is rapidly changing from traditional ways of production such as capital, and labour to sciences and technology, which are both central in the fourth revolution.
President Mnangagwa added that the global pandemics demand that Africa should develop new capabilities and asserts its intellectual property rights over the same.
“The present threats of global pandemics and climate change related challenges, among others, demand that Africa develops new capabilities and asserts its intellectual property rights over the same. As African policymakers, we have a duty to make intellectual property accelerate the growth of our economies.
“The benefits of intellectual property must be accessible to ordinary entrepreneurs and communities as they innovate around our current realities, leveraging on the abundant and unique natural resource endowment of Africa,” said the President.
Aripo was challenged by President Mnangagwa to develop measures aimed at mitigating risks associated with globalised world, connected digital landscape and the Fourth industrial revolution.
Aripo is an inter government organisation that facilitates cooperation among member states in intellectual property matters with the objective of pooling financial and human resources to promote and safeguard intellectual rights.