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30.09.2003 General News

Researchers call for establishment of African Patent Authority

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Accra, Sept. 30, GNA - Participants at a meeting to launch the Ghana branch of the Association of Research Scientists of Africa (ARSA) on Tuesday asked governments on the continent to work towards establishing an African Patent Authority to guarantee their inventions and protect research findings of intellectuals.

They argued that the current process of getting recognition for their discoveries with bodies outside the continent is not only cumbersome and costly, but also exposed their inventions to adaptation. "Africa is old enough to take inventory of who made what and when," the participants said.

They condemned the negative attitude of the continent's governments towards researchers as the most important drawback in Africa's quest to speed up the process of economic growth and to ensure sustainable development.

Dr. Matthew Tetteh, Secretary General ARSA, said although African countries had sought through the Harare Declaration and the Lusaka accord to create a platform to give recognition, the declarations had only been designed to keep Africa Research Scientists out of job, in favour of their counterparts in donor nations, who have assured developing countries of technology transfer in addition to aid. "There is therefore, the tendency of our own governments exposing our local scientist to foreign rivals in favour of aid.

This is the paradox that undermines the security of the African Scientist and exposes him to the donor powers for open exploitation," he said.

Dr Tetteh therefore, called on all Ghanaian researchers to unite through the Association to break down the barriers of exploitation of their talents and business as well as protect their inventions and use them to serve the continent.

Mr Robert Woode, an Engineer, said African countries could only develop if they give adequate attention to technology and research to enhance skills development.

"We have lagged behind because we have failed to recognize the importance of knowledge base education, which is the cornerstone of all developed economies," he said and urged African governments to make the funding of research an essential part of their development agenda.

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