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University of Dar es Salaam Launches Masters in Intellectual Property Degree Program

09-Mar-2020 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 441
HARARE - Intellectual property (IP) protection is an important tool in the development of African economies. New ideas and inventions need to be protected in order to promote and incentivize innovation and creativity. Education on (IP) ensures that the leaders of tomorrow know the benefits of and how to exploit it for sustained socio-economic development, according to the official website of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).

On the 17th of February 2020, University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in collaboration with African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Tanzania’s Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (BRELA) launched the Masters in Intellectual Property (MIP) program. University of Dar es Salaam, one of the oldest universities in Africa, is the third university in Africa that ARIPO has partnered with to offer the MIP program after Africa University (AU) in Zimbabwe and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana. In attendance were high-level representatives of the partners, namely; Mr. Fernando dos Santos, the Director General of ARIPO, Prof. William A.L. Anangisye, Vice-chancellor of the UDSM, Prof Hamudi Majamba, Dean of School of Law and Mr. Geofrey Nyaisa, Chief Executive Officer of BRELA.

The Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, spoke about how ARIPO partnered with WIPO and Africa University in 2008 to offer the first MIP program on the continent, which is now in its 12th year and has produced 324 graduates from 26 countries across Africa. He said a tracer study of the MIP graduates was conducted in 2016 to track their contributions to the development and promotion of IP systems as well as to assess the effectiveness of the program in providing relevant knowledge and skills. The results of the tracer study revealed that the graduates have become major players in the IP systems of their respective countries. They are playing critical and leading roles in developing national and institutional IP policies and also actively participating in reviewing of IP related laws in their countries. Commenting on the findings, Mr. dos Santos said, “It is empirically evident that the MIP program continues to achieve its set objectives of creating IP expertise in Africa as well as actively contributing to its development in Africa. It is my hope that the MIP program we are officially launching today will play a critical role in further enhancing IP expertise and capacity in Africa”.

Prof. Anangisye highlighted how the MIP program fits into the University’s vision and efforts of strengthening its post-graduate programs to have a regional and international appeal. The Vice-chancellor outlined the importance of IP rights in the context of the contemporary global social and economic dynamics. “The progress of science and technology, the cultural and artistic development, access to quality educational materials, the drive to industrialization and access to international markets are all dependent on an effective system of intellectual property”, he added further. Prof. Anangisye urged other stakeholders in the intellectual property industry in Tanzania, such as the Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA) and Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), to join hands with the University and offer support to their staff and young entrepreneurs to gain expertise on issues of IP rights. He thanked ARIPO, WIPO and BRELA for their collaboration and contribution to the long term vision of establishing a research center of excellence at the University of Dar es Salaam specializing in undertaking in-depth studies in intellectual property.

For the university, dealing with IP is not new as it adopted its institutional IP policy as early as in 2008. Furthermore, it was host to a Regional Intellectual Property Coordination Office under the auspices of the Universities Sciences Humanities and Engineering Partnership in Africa (USHEPiA) from 2006 to 2009. This acted as an intellectual property advisory hub in support of setting up intellectual property institutions in different universities across Africa.

In support of the new MIP program, ARIPO and BRELA availed 5 full scholarships each; while WIPO through the WIPO Academy is providing reference material and access to online distance learning.
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