The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) is urging Seychelles to develop a national policy for intellectual property and help people recognise its importance.
Bemanya Twebaze, the ARIPO director general, who is leading a delegation on a working mission in Seychelles, made the appeal in a meeting with several high government officials at the Ministry of Finance on Friday.
“The population should recognise the importance of intellectual property because the sector allows them the freedom to transform their ideas, works and creativity into assets, thus creating wealth, job opportunities and many other socio-economic developments,” he said.
Twebaze said the policy has to include the participation of all partners and the document will clearly outline and define their roles and because “their contributions towards the development of the intellectual property sector are as equally important.”
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, became a member of ARIPO on October 1, 2021. The inter-governmental organisation facilitates cooperation among member states in intellectual property matters. Its objectives are to pool financial and human resources, and seek technological advancement for economic, social, technological, scientific and industrial development.
The ARIPO delegation’s mission in Seychelles is to assess the intellectual property sector. They expect it will give them a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges being faced and where ARIPO can provide technical support, through training and awareness.
During his visit, Twebaze met with the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Trade, Patrick Payet, the Principal Secretary for Trade, Ronald Cafrine, and the Registrar General, Wendy Pierre.
The ARIPO delegation met with several high government officials at the Ministry of Finance on Friday. (Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Trade) Photo License: CC-BY
ARIPO’s representatives worked closely with the Registrar General’s office and held training sessions there as well.
Pierre said that as a member of ARIPO, Seychelles will be able to tap into the resources available not only on a regional level but also with other countries in the world.
She explained that in the past, Seychelles has had its resources used by others – while the country did not reap the benefits.
“The coco de mer is a prime example of people coming into the country and taking the resource. They have marketed it overseas and made money from it, but we did not get paid for it,” she added.
On his side, Payet said that with the advancement of technology and e-commerce, more opportunities are being created and this is why the government has identified the digital economy as one of its priority areas to diversify the economy.
“Discussions are also ongoing for trade and entrepreneurship programmes to be introduced in the education curriculum at an even early age, at the primary and secondary levels,” said Payet.
He called on the private sector to seize the opportunities being offered in the IP sector because there is huge financial and economic potential in the commercialisation of ideas, works and creativity.
With Seychelles’ recent ARIPO membership and the various protocols the island nation signed in the past, it is expected that the misuse of its products and intellectual property will be reduced.