Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu has asked leaders from Least Developed Countries (LDC) to take issues of intellectual property seriously as they contribute to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Speaking during the official opening of a week-long training in Lilongwe on intellectual property rights in the global economy for LDCs, Tembenu said protection of copyright as a form of intellectual property has shown enormous economic benefit to countries as measured in terms of their gross domestic product (GDP); hence, leaders need to take the issue seriously.
“Here in Malawi, a study by the National Statistical Office [NSO] showed that the copyright industry contributed 3.4 percent to GDP, surpassing such areas as mining, transport and construction. Similar studies in Kenya and Tanzania revealed 5.2 percent and 4.6 percent of their GDP from copyright,” he said.
Tembenu said the progress of any nation hinges on its ability to promote and harness the ingenuity and creativity of its people, therefore, protection of industrial property forms such as patents, trademarks, designs, copyright and related rights is needed.
World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) representative Kifle Shenkoru said the training has come at the right time as delegates will discuss 19 policies and strategies in intellectual property and share how they can carry them out in their countries.
“In most LDCs, there are no intellectual property institutions. As LDCs, we are not promoting innovations which are at the core of development. This training, therefore, will help us come up with strategies which can put those in motion and we would chart the way out in the countries,” he said.
He added that the training will give participants an opportunity to discuss ways of strengthening intellectual property institutions.
The training has drawn participants from LDCs in Africa and Asia, among them Malawi, Tanzania, Cambodia, Bhutan and Rwanda.