Knowledge for Development

IP in Africa

This folder highlights African organizations, private sector initiatives and collaborative partnerships that are addressing various aspects of intellectual property rights in relation to agriculture and genetic resources.


A Harvest Biotech Foundation International (AHBFI)

AHBFI promotes safe practices in biotechnology to produce sustainable, disease-free crops of high nutritional value. With offices in Kenya and South Africa, AHBFI aims to provide the tools of biotechnology for Africa through crop and product-oriented projects and programs. AHBFI was set up because of deep concern related to the slow pace of biotechnology adoption by African countries. AHBFI's founders realized that unless a credible African voice emerged in the biotechnology arena, the debate would continue to be driven from outside the continent. AHBFI 'provides leadership that African governments, scientists and policy makers, the media and grassroots organizations can relate to and work with to increase the level of biotechnology acceptance'.

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Africa Rice Center (WARDA/ADRAO)

The Africa Rice Centre (West Africa Rice Development Association, WARDA/Centre de Riziculture pour l'Afrique, ADRAO) is based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The Centre conducts research, provides training and disseminates information to support the NARS, and to respond to the high demand for adapted rice cultivars. The Participatory Technology Development, Testing and Transfer programme encourages communities to select varieties of planting material, and community-based seed production system (CBSS) to overcome the constraints of the conventional seed system, using farmers' practices and indigenous knowledge. The success of the 'New Rice for Africa' (Nerica), developed by WARDA and its partners, has helped shape the Center's future direction, extending its horizon into sub-Saharan Africa. The African Rice Initiative was launched in 2002 to promote the dissemination of Nerica and complementary technologies throughout Africa.

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AfricaBio

AfricaBio is a South African non-profit association for the safe, ethical and responsible research, development and application of biotechnology and its products. The Association serves as a forum for informed dialogue on biotechnology issues in Africa. The site includes resources and a list of policies, legislation, regulation and labelling related to biotechnology.

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African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)

The AATF is a new public-private partnership designed to respond to the needs of resource-poor farmers. The foundation will draw upon the best practices and resources of the public and private sectors to link the needs of farmers with potential technological solutions. It also aims to identify, negotiate and facilitate royalty-free licenses or agreements along with associated materials and know-how. It will facilitate production and distribution partnerships, including entering contracts, to ensure that new products reach smallholder farmers. The Nairobi-based AATF is funded by USAID, the Rockefeller Foundation and DFID, and is supported by four of the world's largest agricultural companies - Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow AgroSciences. See also: SciDev.net, 18 June 2004: Small-scale farmers get technology boost in Africa and Washington Post, 11 March 2003: To feed hungry Africans, firms plant seeds of science.

27/12/2004


African Biotechnology Stakeholders’ Forum (ABSF)

ABSF aims to create an enabling environment in which Africa can participate and benefit from biotechnology. The association, through the dissemination of information, aims to enhance the understanding and awareness of all aspects of biotechnology including biosafety and intellectual property rights. The ABSF was set up by ISAAA (with the support of biotech companies, including Monsanto) to provide a platform for debate on issues pertaining to biotechnology in agriculture, health, industry and environment, and to promote the use of GM crops. AfricaBiotech.com is a project of the ABSF, in cooperation with Tuskegee University (USA), to provide science-based information to the media, policy-makers, NGOs and the public on issues related to biotechnology, including biosafety, intellectual property rights, biodiversity and capacity building.

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African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO)

ARIPO was established to pool the resources of its 15 member countries in industrial property matters in order to avoid duplication. ARIPO promotes the coordination, harmonization and development of industrial property laws appropriate to the needs of its members and of the region as a whole, and offers centralized patent processing, grant/registration and renewal services.

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African Union / Organisation of African Unity (OAU)

In 2000, all OAU Heads of State formally endorsed a model law for Africa to protect the rights of local communities, farmers and breeders, and for the regulation of access to biological resources. The model law includes provisions related to access to genetic resources; equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources; intellectual property rights related to genetic resources and/or protection of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices related to genetic resources; and customary or traditional use of genetic resources. The Ministerial Council recommended that 'African States pass legislation based on the draft law, that they negotiate a Convention in order to create a regional instrument to coordinate action, and that they develop a common African negotiating position in the revision of Article 27.3(b) of the TRIPS Agreement'. Text of the model law (pdf): * In English: African Model Legislation for the Protection of the Rights of Local Communities, Farmers and Breeders, and for the Regulation of Access to Biological Resources. * En français: Législation Modèle Africaine pour la Protection des Droits des Communautés Locales, des Agriculteurs et des Obtenteurs et pour les Règles d'Accès aux Ressources Biologiques. For links related to the model law: Grain's publication page. See also: The OAU draft law and convention: A model for protecting community rights and access.

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Bio-Earn: East African Regional Programme and Research Network

Bio-Earn is working to build capacity, promote research and develop related policies to ensure that biotechnology is used in a safe and sustainable manner in the region. Programme areas include biotechnology, biosafety, and biotechnology policy development, to ensure that member countries develop appropriate technologies and policies according to their own needs, abilities and opportunities. The programme also focuses on intellectual property protection issues, access to and transfer of biotechnology, technology assessment, private-public partnerships and innovative financing mechanisms for R&D.

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Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP)

BDCP is an American NGO that has programmes in five African countries. BDCP provides innovative management and technical support for grassroots projects that promote health, sustain biodiversity, utilize natural products and support traditional healers. The result of this work has been the creation of successful drug development and biodiversity conservation programmes, where reciprocity and capacity building are central. The BDCP has grown into a cooperative of scientists, policy makers, industrialists and individuals who are interested in the conservation and development of biological resources in Africa.

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Biowatch South Africa

Biowatch SA is an NGO that monitors issues of biodiversity, genetic engineering and sustainable livelihoods, and raises public awareness of these issues as a basis for informed participation in policy making. Biowatch is working to ensure that people have control over their food supply systems, that benefits arising from the commercial use of biological resources are fairly shared, and that policy choices about new technologies such as genetic engineering are made in a transparent and participatory way. Biowatch works with various partners to assist marginalised local communities and small-scale farmers, particularly women, to derive livelihoods from their environment and are empowered to understand their rights and speak for themselves. See: The African Model Law for the protection of the rights of local communities, farmers and breeders, an article by Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher.

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Eastern Africa Plant Genetics Resources Network (EAPGREN)

EAPGREN is a long-term regional initiative of ASARECA focusing on capacity building, research and the development of PGR support services at national and regional levels. Its activities complement those of crop networks in the areas of PGR conservation and use. In addition to crops and their wild relatives, EAPGREN also focuses on potentially useful wild species that are currently not covered by national and regional programmes.

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