IP awareness building

Working with various stakeholder groups, IP First is committed to the efforts to get IP to be in the front burner of economic policy discussions and decisions of the governments of African countries.

IP ADVOCACY EFFORTS

Promoting effective IP Systems in Africa

Protecting the rights of citizens whether they be natural rights, civil rights or intellectual property rights, remains a core function of governance in any part of the world. Rights are essentials claims, which are fundamental to the development of people and are therefore guaranteed or enforced by the state.

Sadly, it is in the protection of many of these rights that most African countries under deliver. And one of the least protected of all rights in Africa, is intellectual property rights.

Without a system that guarantees the protection of the outcomes of our creativity, we risk losing not only an environment where ideas can flourish but also our ability to create, innovate and produce.

For a continent that urgently requires to tap into the creative potentials of its people, one would have thought that intellectual property rights would be on the front burner of economic policy discussions and decisions. Unfortunately, in many African countries, intellectual property is not even on the menu let alone being considered for priority placement on the front burner.

This sad state of affairs is not always the result of the insensitivities of African governments to the needs of their people, it is often the result of a lack of awareness of the importance of intellectual property as a critical element in the economic development mix.

It is partly the result of a lack of understanding of how an effective IP system could help transform lives and improve the economic well-being of their citizenry.

It is also partly the result of a lack of appreciation of how an IP system can serve the needs of rural Africa, which seems to be the focus of most governments in Africa.

This lack of awareness and understanding is further entrenched by the yawning gaps in the IP arena, which results in the misalignment of form and function, and of direction and purpose in the evolution of IP systems.

Realizing that these challenges are monumental. And IP First is firmly poised to work with stakeholders to help evolve, sustain and maintain effective IP systems for the countries of Africa, where we operate.

We help leaders understand that creativity can happen anywhere, from the streets of urban Africa to the dusty roads of rural Africa. From cities to slums, there is no place where the creative spirit cannot be found insofar as the conditions are right for such creativity to flourish.

Some of the best talents we have in the Nigerian film industry, emerged from slums like Ajegunle in Lagos and many of them are making fortunes only because of the modest progress made in Nigeria in the area of copyright protection.

Wizkid was recently paid N50 million for a two hour show in Ilorin in Kwara state, Nigeria. About two decades ago, few musicians could afford a car. This underscores the immeasurable benefits of evolving effective IP systems for the countries of Africa.

With IP, everyone is a winner. It is the shortest, least expensive and most cost effective route any country can take to empower the lives of their citizenry.

It is such awareness that IP First is committed to imparting to the policy makers and administrators in the corridors of power in the countries of Africa. And since charity begins at home, it is natural that IP First starts its advocacy efforts in Nigeria.

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