Innogen through TIBA (the NIHR Global Health Research Unit Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa at the University of Edinburgh) was involved in the organisation and running of the NEPAD/AUDA (New Partnership for Africa’s Development/African Union Development Agency) IP workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was aimed at NEPAD/AUDA officials and representatives from African Regional Economic communities. This workshop was co-funded by the UKRI GCRF Global Impact Acceleration through TIBA and the African Academy of Sciences.
Participants at the five day workshop discussed the strategic use of innovation and IP to move African countries towards knowledge-based economies. Speakers presented various models to foster the use and exploitation of IP. The workshop also included sessions on ‘Responsible and sustainable innovation’ and ‘Train the Trainers’ with the training partner ARIPO (African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation). Participants were drawn from Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda (East Africa Community), Ghana and Nigeria (Economic Community of West Africa), and Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana and Mozambique (Southern Africa Development Community).
“There is a growing realisation that emerging entrepreneurs especially in health/pharmaceutical related sectors on the African continent are not leveraging the use of IP as a strategic business instrument to protect their inventions or generate funds through monetisation of IP,” said Dr Geoff Banda, Innogen co-Director and TIBA Fellow.
Innogen through TIBA has also contributed to the ‘Research for Health and Innovation Strategy for Africa’ (RHISA). This document developed by NEPAD/AUDA seeks to steer the research focus and allocation of resources towards areas that are critical for improving health access and security through diverse interventions such as development and production of medical health technologies, process and organisational innovations as well as social innovations that will strengthen local health systems. Geoff Banda contributed to the re-drafting of RHISA and was part of the team that met in Nairobi in June to validate the document before it is forwarded to the African Union for Ratification.
“Shifting priorities to African researchers and nations for improving health is key for embedding inclusive innovation and ensuring “we leave no one behind”, one of the key values for TIBA”, Banda adds.