Sunday, 28 August 2011

Digital Africa: a big event ... and future prospects

Walta Info reports ("Addis to host 10th Annual Innovation Africa Digital Summit") that Ethiopia's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCTI) is to partner with Extensia Limited to bring the 10th Annual Innovation Africa Digital Summit to Ethiopia. This event, scheduled for 27 to 27 March next year, expects to bring together up to 350 leaders covering the African Information Communication Technology industry "including ministers, regulators, service providers and leading international solution providers".

The report talks excitedly about the prospects of a connected Africa, but makes no mention of intellectual property rights at all. Afro Leo adds that, if Ethiopia and other African countries want to attract Information Communication Technology (ICT) investment, they might start by making sure that their own intellectual property offices are accessible online, so that prospective exporters of technology and investors in African digital technologies can discover more easily what sort of legal protection exists for their investments and how it can be obtained.  Anyone who has been following Kingsley Egbuonu's A to Z of intellectual property offices in Africa cannot fail to be disappointed in the fact that investment in patent and trade mark office websites has been so shamefully neglected, even though foreign filings of IP rights are a good way of attracting investment into any country.

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