Intellectual Property and Innovation for National Development: Lessons from South Africa

By Dr. Desmond Oriakhogba

Afronomics pixPhase 2 negotiations towards the objectives of the AfCFTA, which will include Intellectual property (IP) rights, will afford “an opportunity for Africa to craft a new path for knowledge governance” and “redefine the agenda for negotiation of IP issues” in future trade agreements. However, as African countries go into the negotiations, it is important for them to first clarify their respective “fundamental priorities for IP” and development (Ncube, et al). To do so, African countries will require a well-articulated IP policy based on their individual national development objectives. Such policy should articulate goals and strategies that will enable them to harness the gains of IP and innovation for their respective development in the fast-growing, technology-driven, global economy.

In an article for AfronomicsLAW, UCT’s IP-Units Dr Desmond Oriakhogba briefly highlights some key policy and legal steps South Africa has adopted to take advantage of the gains of IP and innovation for its national development. the article also draws lessons from South Africa’s experience that IP negotiations in the AfCFTA can benefit from.