Harare(New Ziana)-The African intellectual property and innovation conference opened in Harare amid strong commendation on the improved knowledge levels about the importance of IP as a tool for economic growth.
At least 45 countries are represented at the WIPO- ARIPO-OAPI conference on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Value Addition for Business Competitiveness and Sustainable Development in Africa, the first to be held in Zimbabwe.
Officially opening the conference, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said Zimbabwe had also embraced the contribution that intellectual property made to the growth of its economy.
“This conference takes place during a period when most African countries have become aware of the importance of IP as a powerful tool for economic growth. Many countries are formulating and reviewing their IP policies in an endeavour to nurture and anchor the IP system in order to foster innovation, competition and value addition.
“Just like many other countries, Zimbabwe has embraced the importance of intellectual property as a tool for economic growth,” he said.
Recently, the country launched the Zimbabwe National Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy which provides direction on development of intellectual property systems among other things.
Zimbabwe also acceded to the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind or visually impaired.
Ziyambi commended WIPO and ARIPO for supporting Zimbabwe in the area of intellectual property and innovations.
“In that respect the country through the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office has embarked on a project for the establishment of technology and innovation support centres. The project seeks to reduce the technical and scientific knowledge gap and to stimulate innovation and economic growth by facilitating access to technological information.
“Further to that, plans are underway to restructure and upgrade the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property office to prepare it to fully participate in the 4th industrial revolution,” he said.