Namibia joined other countries across the globe on Tuesday in celebrating World Intellectual Property Day. The day is used as an opportunity to celebrate creativity and innovation and how they enrich the world. This year’s theme was Digital Creativity: Culture reimagined.
In a speech to mark the day, the World Intellectual Property Organization Director General, Francis Gurry, remarked: “On this day, as we celebrate digital creativity across the world, we should also think about how to find the right balance – one which recognises the importance of creators and innovators to all the progress that we see … as a consequence of digital technology.”
Gurry said the internet provides an enormous opportunity for creators to interact directly with their audiences, thereby opening up a whole new world of creativity and cultural and economic opportunities. “Now, with the internet, the audience has become potentially the whole world. That is an enormous creative opportunity. It’s an enormous cultural opportunity. And it’s an enormous economic opportunity,” he noted.
The 2016 World Intellectual Property Day fell just two weeks after Namibia held a multi-stakeholders workshop for the “Validation of the National Intellectual Property Strategy for Namibia” in Windhoek on April 13. The workshop was hosted by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development and the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) together with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and GIZ.
In his official opening statement, Gabriel Sinimbo, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development said the workshop came at the right time.
“This workshop is timely held and its deliberation is on a timely subject. Intellectual property has become a key factor in the knowledge-based economy; it is no longer an abstract subject at universities or limited to the IP office in the ministry; intellectual property has emerged as a policy tool for socio-economic development and industrialisation,” he said.
The workshop was facilitated by international and Namibian consultants who crafted the draft Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy for Namibia, comprising Loretta Asiedu, senior counsellor at the Regional Bureau for Africa at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Getachew Mengistie, an IP law consultant and attorney from Ethiopia, Naana Halm, an intellectual property and traditional knowledge expert from South Africa and Orthy Kaakunga, a Namibian legal expert, all of whom spoke on the Validation of the National Intellectual Property Development Plan for Namibia.
Loretta Asiedu from WIPO spoke on WIPO’s programme for promoting innovation and creativity policies and strategies for development and further noted that IP could be one of the strategic tools for achieving economic prosperity as championed by President Hage Geingob under the ambitious Harambee Prosperity Plan.
The workshop recognised that Namibia needs an IP strategy as this will go a long way towards setting standards and guiding the country’s socio-economic policies and developmental agenda.
The consultants having taken note of the comments and feedback from business people, legal experts, researchers, artistes and other stakeholders will internalise all recommendations and inputs and incorporate such into the final policy document.
In conclusion, BIPA CEO, Talienge Andima, who hosted the workshop, thanked the audience for their attendance and contributions and highlighted how important their role is in the process of setting up the IP policy and its strategic role in the growth of Namibia.