The Lesotho Academy of Science and Technology (LAST), in collaboration with the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the Botswana Academy of Science (BAS), hosted a workshop on the Pioneering Intellectual Property Management Programme for African Researchers on Tuesday in Maseru.
The objective of the workshop was to equip the forum with techniques to connect academics, researchers, business professionals, and policymakers in the fields of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) to collaborate to advance Africa’s STI and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
When officially opening the event, the Principal Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Information, Communications, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MICSTI), Mr. Kanono Ramashamole said the initiative came at an opportune time after the launch of the Sebabatso Youth Empowerment Forum by the Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane, saying the forum aims to attract investment in youth businesses and innovations.
“Innovation is the cornerstone of progress and development. It drives economies, fosters collaboration, and empowers nations. Africa is brimming with talent and untapped potential,” he said, adding that it is high time to harness that potential by pioneering Intellectual Property (IP) management. Intellectual property whether it be patents, copyrights, trademarks or trade secrets, forms the bedrock upon which innovation and research are built. He said it protects the rights of the creators and inventors and at the same time fuels economic growth.
Also speaking, the acting Director of the Department of Science, Mrs. ‘Matšepo Mosoka, emphasized the growing awareness and sharing of ideas about intellectual property among academics.
Mrs. Mosoka highlighted the increasing generation of research, saying there is a parallel rise in intellectual property, stressing the need for the ministry to formulate policies to protect these ideas and the stakeholders involved in the research industry.
“It is everyone’s right to benefit from their innovations and ideas, so they need to be protected,” she emphasized.
The ASSAf Programme Officer representing Africa and overseas partnerships, Dr. Tozama Qwebani, emphasized that the workshop was organized based on recommendations from the webinar “Innovation and Intellectual Property Management in Advancing Agenda 2063 in Africa that was hosted by the three academies on May 25, 2023.
Present at the workshop included experts like Dr Jakie Kado from the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), Prof. Timothy Thamae from the National University of Lesotho, senior officials representing the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) in the Republic of South Africa and high school learners from different schools.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.