Category Archives: Governance, Metrics, and Public Policy

Challenging the Meaning of Innovation: Lessons from Refugee-Founded Organizations in Kampala

By Nicole Tumaine There is often a limited and constricted view of African innovation, especially when it comes to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). While there is the common perception that refugees on the continent are resilient, innovative, and resourceful, it is only in the sense that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. … Continue reading Challenging the Meaning of Innovation: Lessons from Refugee-Founded Organizations in Kampala


Common Misconceptions of Patents in Egypt

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.


Dr Henry Mutai

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.


Understanding Knowledge Dynamics and Scaling-up in Micro Enterprises in Otigba Market Cluster

In part 1, I discussed our preliminary findings from 73 field interviews conducted by my team and I in the Otigba Market Cluster. Since then we have conducted an additional 123 interviews, making a total of 200 interviews in all. In this second post, I will discuss more on the kind of innovations in the cluster, how MSMEs in the cluster scale-up, and the impact of knowledge sharing on MSMEs’ innovativeness.


Open AIR Students Present at Carleton’s Institute of African Studies

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.


Professor Carys Craig Infuses the Open Access Movement with Feminism at the University of Ottawa

Is intellectual property (IP) gender neutral? No. Neither is the dominant discourse on innovation. Recognizing this bias is the first step toward remedying it.


Meet Open AIR’s New and Emerging Researchers Group (NERG)

Under the masterful guidance of our North African hub leader, Nagla Rizk, six NERGs are currently engaged in research spanning North Africa. Our AUC hub is the lead on research into economics, innovation, and metrics (among other topics). Nagla has been with Open AIR since its evolution from the ACA2K (Africa Copyright Access to Knowledge) group in 2011 and is now looking in depth into the issue of how to measure innovation in a manner that accurately reflects what is happening on the ground in most, if not all, of the African continent.


Open Data and Ownership at the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Summit

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.


Les défis d’étendre Open AIR dans des pays africains francophones

Le travail panafricain comprend plusieurs défis, entre autre la grandeur du continent, sa diversité, les différences juridiques, et la complexité des langues. Les défis sont particulièrement marqués pour l’innovation africaine. Il y a deux organismes régionaux dans le domaine de la propriété intellectuelle, en plus de l’Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle, ce qui souligne la diversité et les divisions linguistiques et régionales. Pour Open AIR, un réseau de recherche qui travaille dans de différents domaines de l’innovation et la propriété intellectuelle, on rencontre plusieurs défis à cause de cette diversité.


Ownership of Open Data (GODAN Summit 2016)

Open agricultural and nutritional data can play a vital role in addressing global challenges of food insecurity, health crises, climate change, and poverty.


Inclusive Innovation: Lessons from Africa for the World’s ICT Policymakers

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.