Earlier this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a two-day workshop on “Supporting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Use the Intellectual Property System in Their Competitive Strategy” at the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Cairo, Egypt, which some of our Open AIR NERG members attended. The goal of this meeting was to discuss how to encourage young innovators to protect their inventions by patenting them at the Egyptian Patent Office. The workshop had vibrant and sometimes heated discussions between these innovators and government officials regarding many of the obstacles faced in the patenting process in Egypt.
Open AIR East Africa Distinguished Speaker Series: Dr. Henry Mutai on IP, Trade and Regional Integration in Africa
On 10 June 2015, the Agreement establishing a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was signed in Egypt bringing together 26 African countries from three major regional blocs: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Following the signing, the current phase of the TFTA negotiations are meant to cover five agenda items: trade in services, cooperation in trade and development, competition policy, intellectual property (IP) rights, and cross-border investment. The fourth of those five issues was the subject of the second Open AIR East Africa Distinguished Speaker Series presentation by Dr. Henry Kibet Mutai.
Enthusiasts and researchers gathered on Friday, March 3, 2017 to share research on the growing African maker movement. The workshop was hosted at the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa.
The WIPO-IGC recently commenced the next installment of its deliberations for a text-based instrument that focuses on the protection of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs), pursuant to its mandate. There are two scheduled forums on TCEs beginning Feb 27-March 3 and to be completed in June 2017, which will round off the Committee’s work for the 2016-17 biennium.
Back in October 2016, three of our Open AIR Research Fellows had the unique and rewarding opportunity to participate in the Second Annual Institute of African Studies Undergraduate Research Conference at Carleton University’s Institute of African Studies. Undergraduate researchers from across the globe presented their research findings on a wide breadth of topics – from fiction describing Nigerian culture, to professional development for youth in South Africa, to political structures that influenced the welfare state in Tanzania and Kenya.
Open AIR North Africa Distinguished Speaker Series: Ibrahim Al-Safadi on Makerspaces and Employment Opportunities
On 10 December 2016, as part of the RiseUp Summit in Cairo, Open AIR’s North Africa hub hosted their first Distinguished Speaker event with Ibrahim Al-Safadi, the CEO of Luminous Education. The Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) invited Al-Safadi to speak about the role of “makerspaces” to tackle unemployment and to share his experiences in how to create a makerspace that ensures that the individuals involved end up with jobs.
The Summit was part of a series of events that took place in Egypt in conjunction with the Global Entrepreneurship Week. A2K4D’s Senior Research Officer, Nagham El Houssamy, participated in the summit, speaking on the Data-Driven Innovation Panel on Friday, November 18.
Is intellectual property (IP) gender neutral? No. Neither is the dominant discourse on innovation. Recognizing this bias is the first step toward remedying it.
In mid August, Open AIR hosted a roundtable discussion on makerspaces and innovation hubs in Africa. I found it really fascinating to take part in the discussion, which featured a number of uOttawa entrepreneurship and engineering professors, Open AIR researchers, visiting professors, and staff from IDRC. The presentations and follow-up conversations were thought provoking and the room had a great mix of diverse ideas.
How the world evolves in the next decade (and beyond) may be dependent upon a new-age movement re-instilling age-old skills: the maker movement. In my ongoing research into the maker movement in Canada and South Africa (see earlier posts here and here), I recently co-hosted a workshop in Ottawa with attendees from the University of Ottawa, representatives of makerspaces in the community, and those with knowledge about makerspaces elsewhere in the world.
In October 2010, Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda, recorded a rap song titled: “Do You Want Another Rap?” as part of his re-election campaign to capture the imagination of young voters. The song was a huge success and may have played a part in his reelection. When Museveni applied for a copyright registration of the song, however, members of the Ankole community filed an objection stating that the song was derived from Ankole folklore. While the Registrar of Copyrights in Uganda eventually allowed Museveni’s copyright application for registration, this case triggered Dr. Anthony Conrad K. Kakooza’s interest in the area of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) and whether TCEs should be recognized within the domain of intellectual property (IP) law.
Open data has the potential to end global hunger. Farmers, government ministers, NGOs, and private firms gathered to collaborate on openness in agriculture in New York City at the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Summit on September 16 and 17, 2016.
Open AIR aims to understand how open collaborative innovation can help businesses scale up and seize the opportunities of the global knowledge economy. This question is important in a wide range of sectors, including agriculture. With the rise of data-driven innovation, facilitated by “digital” or “computational” agriculture, stakeholders need to know whether conventional intellectual property management strategies or more open collaborative approaches will have the most positive impacts on society in both developed and developing regions of the world.
Open agricultural and nutritional data can play a vital role in addressing global challenges of food insecurity, health crises, climate change, and poverty.
Information communication technologies (ICT) can play a crucial role in promoting development, making societies more just, equitable, and inclusive of marginalized communities. To see how, some of the brightest young researchers from the “global South” met with established field leaders at the IDRC and COSTECH-sponsored 2016 CPRsouth conference in Zanzibar.