Category Archives: Blog Post / News

Reconciling Intellectual Property Rights and African Development: The Right to Development Conference Charts the Way Forward

By Uchenna Felicia Ugwu In September 2017, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation[i] and the Centre for Human Rights (CHR)[ii], Faculty of Law University of Pretoria gathered together a group of academics and business persons at a conference to discuss “Regional Perspectives on the Right to Development.”[iii] At this conference I had the honour of presenting one of … Continue reading Reconciling Intellectual Property Rights and African Development: The Right to Development Conference Charts the Way Forward


Egypt’s New Investment Law: Creating Better Opportunities for Small Businesses?

By Sarah El Saeed The Egyptian Government has begun in pushing through a fiscal and monetary reform plan that includes various unpopular austerity measures. In the first quarter of 2017, inflation hit a 30-year high of 31.5%, following several state subsidy cuts being made. The value of the Egypt pound has also declined by more … Continue reading Egypt’s New Investment Law: Creating Better Opportunities for Small Businesses?


Financing of Innovation

By Eslam Shaaban   For decades, Kodak was a global giant in the photography industry all over the world. Over the past decade, however, their business gradually started to fall to where Kodak is now bankrupt. Why has Kodak failed and vanished? The answer to this is resistance to change. In a digital age that … Continue reading Financing of Innovation


Open AIR’s Sileshi Hirko wins competitive grant

Mr. Sileshi Hirko, a PhD candidate in the Common Law Section of the University of Ottawa, has won the Civil Society Scholars Award (CSSA). CSSA is a research grant from the Open Society Foundations, and it is awarded to PhD students for field research and to scholars for a research project. With significant financial support … Continue reading Open AIR’s Sileshi Hirko wins competitive grant


The Many Faces of Scholarly Communications

By Nagham El Houssamy The FORCE11 Scholarly Communications Institute was held at the University of California San Diego from 31 July until 4 August 2017. This was the first of what will become an annual one-week training and is open for anyone to register and attend. The course is especially useful for early-career researchers who … Continue reading The Many Faces of Scholarly Communications


Open AIR Expansion into Morocco

By Sara Yassine Over the past six months, the Research Laboratory Entrepreneurship and Management of Organizations (LABO-EMO) and Open AIR have been looking at ways to collaborate on research and activities. The LABO-EMO is a top-tier research unit at Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco, under the Faculty of Administration and Law. About the LABO-EMO … Continue reading Open AIR Expansion into Morocco


Africa’s Maker Movement: An Overview of Ongoing Research

Makerspaces are places where people gather to build projects, learn new technologies, and develop entrepreneurial opportunities. Open AIR is conducting research on makerspaces across the African continent.


Open Data Brings Farmers and Researchers Together

How can farmers and researchers use open data to work together for food security? Open data and other forms of open access to knowledge help facilitate these relationships.


Canada’s 2017 Copyright Review: Reflections on the Congress 2017

By Sileshi Hirko  Introduction The last week of May 2017 was a week of great academic activity in Canada, Congress 2017. This event is run by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, with Ryerson University hosting this year. Congress 2017 brought together over 70 associations under the theme “The Next 150: On Indigenous … Continue reading Canada’s 2017 Copyright Review: Reflections on the Congress 2017


Apply Now: Funding for Research on Gender and Innovation in Africa

Funding to conduct research on gender and innovation in Africa is now available. Open AIR invites proposals for short-term research projects that address our research questions on African innovation through the lens of gender equality, empowerment of women and girls, and inclusion of marginalized communities. Researchers will conduct their projects while based at one or … Continue reading Apply Now: Funding for Research on Gender and Innovation in Africa



Open AIR NERG presents at Windsor Symposium on Copyright User Rights and Access to Justice

By Uchenna Ugwu How can “user rights” and exceptions to copyright be used most effectively to ensure access to knowledge for all? This question is a very important one because access to knowledge is so integral to innovation. In May 2017, the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor convened the Copyright User Rights … Continue reading Open AIR NERG presents at Windsor Symposium on Copyright User Rights and Access to Justice


Strengthening innovation support systems at Ghana’s Suame Magazine

In my previous blog on skills development and innovation at Ghana’s Suame Magazine, I showed how the high level of collaboration and sharing of knowledge and skills within the cluster is contributing to innovation. Further, I provided some preliminary findings on the inability of these artisans’ to keep pace with the changing technology landscape. I also found that few artisans expressed interest in joining or maintaining a membership with local trade associations due to these associations’ inability to implement their key mandate of skills development and facilitation of business for members and firms.


WIPO Special Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Traditional Cultural Expression Shies Away from Consolidating its Mandate but Agrees on Lack of Indigenous Participation

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s specialist committee charged with negotiating text-based instrument(s) for the effective protection of Genetic Resources (GRs), Traditional Knowledge (TK), and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs), on Friday June 16 2017 concluded its 34th session with partial agreement on its mandate and on the fate of the committee and its work program.


Exploring Crowd-Based Capitalism in Africa’s Sharing Economy

The sharing economy has been growing at an ever-accelerating pace throughout the world as peer-to-peer networks and collaborative company models continue to pop up. The sharing economy, according to Rachel Botsman, is “an economic model based on sharing underutilized assets, from spaces to skills to stuff, for monetary or non-monetary benefits.” They often involve platforms that enable the exchange of services between peers or businesses. Arun Sundarajan explains the sharing economy somewhat differently: “What is new, in the “sharing economy,” is that you are not helping a friend for free; you are providing these services to a stranger for money.” He describes this as “crowd-based capitalism.”