Wednesday, 20 April 2016

IP Policies in Africa -No 36: Namibia - update

Since blogging about Namibia's IP policy developments in 2014 (here) as part of the A-Z series, there have been some recent developments in that country. A team of consultants has been working with Namibian  stakeholders to craft an IP policy under the auspices of WIPO's technical assistance program. An IP Policy Workshop: Elaboration of a National IP Strategy and policy for the Government of Namibia was held in September 2015 (see WIPO technical assistance database entry here).

The formulation of the IP Strategy has been completed and a Multi-Stakeholders Workshop for the Validation of the National IP Strategy for Namibia was held on 13 April 2016 in Windhoek (see program here).  The strategy itself is not publicly available but the Intellectual Property Audit Report of Namibia which serves as the basis for the strategy is available here. The audit report sets out the purpose of its recommended IP policy as follows (at pp14 -15)

to enable [Namibia] to use IP in order to meet [her] development goals and objectives, ensure policy
 coherence and provide guidance on:
a) the integration of IP into national and sectoral development policies,
b) the generation and exploitation of IP assets, and the provision of support and promotion
of local creative, inventive and innovative activities as well as the transfer of technology;
c) prevention of the loss of valuable assets and absence of benefit sharing such as those
relating to the misappropriation of traditional or indigenous knowledge and biological
d) the revision of existing and drafting of new IP laws in compliance with the requirements
of international and regional IP agreements to which the country is a party while exploiting 
flexibilities in meeting national needs and protecting public interest; 
e) maximising benefits from membership to regional and International IP agreements and
trading arrangements; and
f) negotiations at bilateral, regional and international levels involving intellectual property
issues or matters that may affect the generation, protection and commercialisation of IP
assets as well as transfer of technology.

These appear to be laudable goals, particularly the mention of national needs and the public interest in paragraph (d). It will only be possible to evaluate whether the resultant policy (validated on 14 April 2016) meets these goals once it becomes publicly available.

For a news items on the validation workshop see Lela National Intellectual Property Strategy under review
For a news item on the first workshop (September 2015) see Windhoek Observer Windhoek hosts intellectual property workshop

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