African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) has urged local innovators to utilise intellectual property rights to protect their innovations and maximise benefits.
Aripo director general Fernando Dos Santos said this on Monday in Blantyre at the opening of the Aripo Roving Seminar on Protection and Promotion of Patents, Utility Models, Industrial Designs, Trademarks and Computer Software.
The seminar was organised in collaboration with the Office of the Registrar General.
Dos Santos said Africa is lagging behind in terms of development, mainly due to lack of value addition to natural resources and inadequate use of intellectual property, which is the creations of the human minds for which exclusive rights are recognised.
“Our artists die poor because we are not using intellectual property tools to recognise their work. Intellectual property cannot be disassociated from development,” he said.
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, who was the guest of honour at the seminar, said intellectual property is a major contributor to economic growth and key to economic success in the global economy in which knowledge and intangibles are becoming increasingly important assets.
He said government is in the process of adopting an Intellectual Property policy and is reviewing intellectual property laws.
According to Kaphale, government will also be introducing teaching of intellectual property in public universities.