Don’t replace local with foreign products – Tweya

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Strauss Lunyangwe

WINDHOEK – Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Tjekero Tweya, has implored officials attending a workshop on intellectual property rights to safeguard local products at all times and desist from promoting foreign-produced products.

He questioned why Namibia should continue to import Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) while local original seeds are put aside, “which would mean we grow their economies and not ours. We must open our eyes and use our intellect to serve the people we claim we are representing and take the knowledge and adjust it to benefit our citizens on the continent,” noted the SME development minister.

He made the remarks at the opening of a five-day technical workshop on tools for intellectual property for representatives from the industrial property offices of the member states of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and South Africa.

The workshop is organised by the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) in partnership with the European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN). The workshop has brought together over 50 officials from 21 countries across Africa.

Speaking at the same event, European Union Ambassador to Namibia, Jana Hybaskova, said Namibia struggles to generate enough local energy for its own use and this happens with other African countries.

“Solar energy, solar pumps, or biomass have become a very important solution for Africa. We need African local tailor-made solutions to solve these problems, these solutions need protection and this is why I find this week so fascinating, especially because of the forthcoming industrialisation week,” she said.

Tweya said Cabinet recently approved the Industrial Property Act, which will protect individuals and also give them their deserved recognition so that the majority can benefit. He believes with the act in place, Namibia will go very in the sphere of intellectual property rights.

The minister appealed to local officials to commit by implementing tangible tasks for local and cross promotion on Intellectual Property among the member states.

The workshop aims to strengthen EUIPN relationships with international and regional organisations, through sharing the benefits of the IP tools developed by the EUIPN with particular attention to the small and medium enterprises sector.

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