Director- General of WIPO in Ghana

Francis Gurry - WIPO Boss

Mr Francis Gurry, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has noted that the full implementation of the Swakopmund Protocol on Traditional knowledge and expressions of folklore is very important.

He says it can help the world to realise the full economic potential of traditional knowledge, adding that intellectual property is essentially a mechanism for translating cultural as well as knowledge assets into commercial assets.

“Traditional knowledge or expressions of folklore have an economic value but that value has not been recognised so much until now.

“The movement to protect traditional knowledge and cultural expressions recognises that it is also a shift from the Intellectual Property (IP) system because IP will now be recognising a knowledge that is not just Western but universal,” he stated.

Mr Gurry, who was speaking in an interview with the GNA at the Kotoka International Airport when he arrived in Ghana on Tuesday, said what the protocol sought to do in essence was to give property rights and recognition to custodians of traditional knowledge and to give rights over their exploitation and therefore to stop others outside the traditional community from unfairly misappropriating those knowledge or folklore.

He said his address to the Ministerial Council Meeting of  Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organisation would be that the world needs to take into account the fact that knowledge component in economic production is increasing all the time.

Mr Gurry said he would also place emphasis on innovation which is relevant to Africa.

He said innovation is something that covered the ways “we market and organise things; branding. the specificity of the products that Africa has to offer in the world market and joining knowledge networks”.

“Ghana is extremely well known because it has always had a brand and has a well educated and skilled workforce, which is very relevant. Economic growth is going on well and intellectual property can make a little contribution to this.

“There is a very good framework being built in Ghana which is a good accompaniment to economic growth and expansion that will occur,” Mr Gurry said.

He urged Ghanaians, especially the youth to utilise technology and the internet to express cultural creativity and to participate in social production.

“Ghana is very rich in cultural creations and the new technologies create new opportunities to express that cultural creativity and richness and also to market it,” he said.

Source: GNA

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