By Amie Sanneh
The Justice Ministry together with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) yesterday, 27 April, validated the first national Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy for The Gambia held at a local hotel in Kololi.
According to officials, the objective of the document is to achieve the generation of intellectual property rights, creating an IP culture and awareness, encouraging creativity and innovation, protection and administration of IPR, building IP capacity with the overall objective of making Gambia attractive to Foreign Direct Investment.The Solicitor General and Legal Secretary, Mr. Cherno Marenah, said the advent of knowledge economy and its relevance to socio economic development necessitated the formulation of intellectual property policies and strategies across the world.
“In modern governance, development objectives are achieved first by the formulation of a policy to serve as a blueprint followed by the implementation of the policy and the evaluation periodically, of the gains made by the policy,” said the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary.
According to Marenah, by validating this document, they will be carving an Intellectual Property (IP) blueprint that will help them draft an IP policy. He said the intellectual property laws and systems are undergoing significant changes and the formulation of a national IPR strategy policy is imperative. He added that IP has become central in every sector of the economy and is required to be incorporated into the policy instruments of every sector of the economy.
He noted that an IP policy and strategy for the country was long overdue as its importance cannot be overemphasized. “An IP policy and strategy will be the foundation upon which a robust IP system is built. This draft strategy will not just serve as a blueprint and a guide to our development aspirations, it will also be a tool to promote public interest, innovation and technological progress. This draft strategy will also set the tone to encourage and facilitate effective creation, development and effective management of intellectual property in The Gambia,” he said.
The Solicitor General and Legal Secretary therefore urged participants to make positive contributions to the draft policy for them to come up with an IP strategy and policy that will be responsive to the country’s development needs and aspirations.
Speaking on behalf of WIPO’s Director General, Loretta Asiedu, Senior Counsellor, Regional Bureau for Africa, said WIPO is committed to ensuring that its member states are able to maximize the use of the Intellectual Property System for development. She therefore encouraged them to adopt National IP Policies and strategies that align with their development goals and also foster economic growth through the use of the tools of the IP system. She said once the document is validated, it will become the framework for the execution of projects which will support the country’s IP vision. She said WIPO will continue prioritizing the needs of its member states from the developing world in using the IP system for economic growth and wealth creation.