Intellectual Property Policy should fight poverty

15 Sep 2015 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 15 SEP (NAMPA) – The development of an Intellectual Property (IP) Policy and Strategy should create a framework conducive to unlocking the potential of IP as a tool towards poverty eradication.
This was said by Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Pieter van der Walt during the opening of a two-day National Intellectual Property Policy workshop in the capital on Tuesday.
Apart from reviewing the National IP Policy and Strategy, the workshop focuses on providing senior policy makers; government officials; representatives from industries; and other stakeholders an opportunity to be sensitised on the various aspects of IP and its contribution to development.
Van der Walt explained the IP policy should set the framework to ensure the effective use of IP for transformational growth at home.
He urged participants to ensure that their review of the policy offers solutions to Namibia’s problems and advises the interests of the Namibian people.
“In other words, it must be a Namibian policy,” the Deputy Minister emphasised, adding that there is no justification why intellectual property should be viewed as property of developed countries because creativity and innovation is common to all men in the world; developed, developing or undeveloped.
Thus, he said everyone has an obligation to ensure that all intellectual properties’ rights are recognised, protected and valued.
His ministry has been tasked with the responsibility of creating a conducive business environment and stimulating private sector investment, trade and industrial activities, as key prerequisites for accelerated and sustained industrial and economic growth and development.
Van der Walt said the IP policy must create a conducive framework for the economic and social development through innovation, creativity, access to knowledge and its dissemination.
He noted that Namibia has also championed the establishment of the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), which will be equipped with the necessary resources to advise Government on IP related matters and is entrusted with the promotion of IP as a strategic tool for development.
“Our approach is to have a framework which maintains a balance between protection of IP rights and safeguards against market abuse,” Van der Walt said.
Meanwhile, World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) Regional Bureau for Africa Senior Advisor, Loretta Asiedu said her organisation has assisted Namibia in the framework of its technical cooperation programme by providing some level of support in bringing IP matters to the fore but all this endeavour will come to naught without an assessment of where Namibia stands in the area of IP, where it wants to be and how it will get there.
Asiedu said during the workshop that consultations will help identify the challenges facing the administration and development of the IP system in Namibia and propose steps the government needs to take in order to harness the full potential of economically valuable IP assets, both at the micro and macro levels.
“I wish to urge all participants to give the presentations and discussions their full and undivided attention to ensure that the outcome reflects a clear picture that will feed into the elaboration of National IP Strategy that makes IP work for the government and people of Namibia,” she said.
Topics to be discussed include the role of innovation and creativity policies and strategies in facilitating the achievement of National Development goals; the IP systems in Namibia; building national innovation and creative institution; and the role and contribution of the copyright industry for economic growth and development, amongst others.
The IP workshop was organised by WIPO in cooperation with this Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development and BIPA.
It ends on Wednesday.