Laws affecting intellectual property under review

By Abigirl Tembo

Government says it is reviewing all laws relating to intellectual property to suit the new demands for Zimbabwe’s industrialisation and modernisation agenda.

In a move aimed at actualising government’s heritage-based Education 5.0 philosophy, which mandates education institutions to generate goods and services in response to the needs of industry, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs says it is reviewing laws affecting intellectual property.

This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, who was representing Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi at the launch of the 2022 Research Innovation and Industrialisation Week at the University of Zimbabwe- UZ this Thursday.

“It has been brought to our attention and we are aware that while higher education institutions are now expected to generate IPs in line with the heritage-based Education 5.0 philosophy, it still remains a challenge to get patents for heritage-based products on the world intellectual property platform WIPO and ARIPO. For example, our mahewu, mbira and traditional medicines have been patented in the United States of America, yet according to our Zimbabwean intellectual property laws, these products do not qualify for patenting as they are considered to be communal property. I would like to assure you that my ministry is looking is looking into these issues in order to provide a conducive environment for the protection of heritage-based knowledge creations for the delivery of goods and services for the nation,” she said.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira challenged students to aim higher and contribute meaningfully to national development.

“We are working towards vision 2030 as enunciated by His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Whatever we do, we must think outside the box. We don’t want a person who will be dangling a paper. We want a person who can make something, a person who can develop something, that’s why we came up with Education 5.0. That’s the kind of graduation we need,” said Professor Murwira.

The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, who was represented by her deputy, Honourable Kindness Paradza called on universities to produce hands-on graduates.

“Universities should be productivity-based for Zimbabwe to effectively develop. This is in line with the Education 5.0 adopted by the Second Republic, which demands that the country produces goods and services to transform local communities. We are now outcome-based, so every university should produce graduates that are hands on, that offer practical solutions to today’s problems,” said Hon Paradza.

The launch, which was organised by the UZ and the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, also witnessed various UZ departments and other colleges showcasing their innovations in line with Education 5.0.