Thursday 5 September 2013

Caroline B Ncube

IP policies in Africa - no 3 Benin

Benin, one of the LDCs that benefited from the recent TRIPs compliance extension, does not have an IP policy to inform its IP legislation (available here). Such legislation is implemented together with the OAPI's Bangui Agreement which is directly applicable in Benin (see a brief overview of OAPI member states and the Bangui Agreement here). An innovation policy is a good place to look for a country's IP policy position. There are some indications that Benin sought assistance with formulating a Science, Technology and Innovation policy from UNESCO in 2008 (see here) but this Leo was unable to find a national innovation policy either. If any Afo-IP readers have further information on this, it would be very welcome.

As an OAPI member state that subscribes to a common code of IP law (the Bangui Agreement) Benin probably takes its policy cues from OAPI.  However, in my view, it would be prudent to have a national policy stance that takes  the country's unique socio-economic position into account and addresses the various aspects of the economy that are affected by IP laws such as tech-transfer and the promotion of innovation.

For those interested in following up on Benin - a good start would be Fikremarkos Merso's 'IP Trends in African LDCs and the LDC TRIPS Transition Extension' which places Benin's position in context by comparing it to other African LDCs.

* in breaking news elsewhere on the continent, South Africa's draft IP policy was gazetted yesterday (its full text is available here). Afro-IP will be carrying commentary on the draft over the next few weeks. 

Caroline B Ncube

Caroline B Ncube

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