On 14-15 June 2017, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) held its first Intellectual Property (IP) awareness creation with universities and research institutions that was hosted at the Njala University in Sierra Leone.
This is an initiative by ARIPO to reach institutions of higher learning in Africa so that they utilize the IP system nationally and regionally so that IP rights can bring economic development to the universities, rights holders and the country at large.
Organized together with the University of Sierra Leone, more than 100 participants took part in the seminar. They were from the University of Sierra Leone, The University of Makeni, Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology, Eastern Polytechnic, Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, Freetown Teachers’ College, The Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute and representatives from the Tertiary Education Commission.
From the seminar, it emerged that there was a low uptake of IP in Sierra Leone. To counter this, it was recommended there be inclusion and the development of IP Policies in universities and tertiary institutions, to undertake awareness raising initiatives, teaching of IP and establishment of IP Units in the different institutions.
This seminar was the first of this new approach by ARIPO that will directly involve universities and research institutions in awareness raising about IP. ARIPO will organize similar initiatives in Swaziland and Zambia in 2017.