Conference on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Value Addition for Business Competitiveness and Sustainable Development in Africa

The Conference explored the challenges and opportunities for Africa in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It considered how to harness the potential of universities and research institutions as generators of new knowledge and intellectual property (IP) assets, as well as ways to encourage the business community, to embrace innovation and IP in support of national economic growth. Download the program PDF, Program.

Attendance at the Conference was by invitation only. Participants included:

  • ministers responsible for trade, industry, promotion of private sector, higher and tertiary education, science and technology, and Justice;
  • senior government officials, as well as public and private sector businesses and inventors;
  • intergovernmental organizations;
  • regional economic and IP institutions; and
  • opinion leaders from within and outside Africa.

The three-day Conference consisted of a high-level segment, two parallel break-away clusters and a plenary session. Each break away cluster consisted of speakers and a moderator who will guide the discussions among the speakers and between the speakers and participants.

  • High Level Segment – Africa in a Knowledge-Based Economy: Challenges and Opportunities in the 4th Industrial Revolution
  • Cluster 1 – Universities and research and development (R&D) institutions in the global knowledge based economy
  • Cluster 2 – SMEs and their contribution to innovation and economic growth in Africa
  • Plenary session – Presentation by Chair of the Drafting Committee on key issues and areas of agreement for the preparation of the joint road map and action plan for the two clusters; and Discussion on way forward.
The Conference would produce a draft five-year roadmap and action plan on effective use of IP and innovation to establish an advanced innovation ecosystem in Africa for further consideration by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and l’Organisation africaine de la propriété intellectuelle (OAPI).

November 5 – 8, 2019

Location: Harare, Zimbabwe

(Photo: Getty Images/metamorworks)

WIPO Magazine – Special issue


WIPO Director General on innovation in Africa

In a video message to the Conference, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry outlines the opportunities and challenges facing Africa in building an innovation ecosystem. (Video on YouTube)

WIPO and partners

Francis Gurry
Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization

Bright Msaka
Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Malawi

Achta Djibrine Sy
Minister for Mines, Industry, Trade and Promotion of Private Sector, Tchad

Ziyambi Ziyambi
Minister for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Zimbabwe

Amon Murwira
Minister for Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Zimbabwe

Kunihiko Shimano
Deputy Commissioner, Japan Patent Office

Fernando dos Santos
Director General, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), Harare, Zimbabwe

Virginia Mabiza
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Zimbabwe

Denis Bohoussou
Director General, Organisation africaine de la propriété intellectuelle

Wilson K. Tarpeh
Minister for Commerce and Industry, Liberia

High-level segment – Panelists and moderator

Mafini Dosso
Economist and Political Analyst; Expert in Industrial Politics and Innovation, Spain

Robson Mafoti
Chairman and Interim Vice Chancellor, Pan African Minerals, University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe

Amon Murwira
Minister for Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Zimbabwe

Charles Afeku
Adviser to the CEO of the African Legal Support Facility, African Development Bank, Zimbabwe

Brenda Kahari
Legal Practitioners, Harare, Zimbabwe

Moderator: McLean Sibanda
Managing Director, Bigen Global Limited, International Consultant & IP Expert, South Africa