Edited by Graeme B. Dinwoodie
Chapter 10: The development imperative in the global IP system: Some reflections on developing Africa
Issues of development have engaged international relations and international law on different fronts for several decades. Indeed, that is so both prior and subsequent to the Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) in 1974 and in the context of intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes particularly in the international and global contexts. Significantly, development concerns have continued to feature prominently in global policy and have remained one of its most important pillars. Undoubtedly, recent global developments have had far reaching implications on the state of IPR protection involving an exponential expansion in the standard and subject matter of IPR protection. Consequently, the development imperative seeks to construct balance, equity, efficiency and access in the global IPR system which has consistently demonstrated an unmitigated tendency for stronger and disparate standards of IPR protection and which has continued to pose intractable challenges for many developing countries in terms of the impact of IPR on the critical and public-facing issues of access to knowledge, information technologies, education, essential medicines and the wider socio-economic development as well as the overall welfare of the citizenry which the global IPR system, particularly the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), promises. For the most part, the impact of IP and its complex company of rights and privileges have consistently produced tensions and negative results that have put the development aspirations of developing countries, particularly of Africa, in jeopardy.
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