By Nancy Emily Nagujja.

Uganda joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Intellectual Property Day on 26th April 2021. The event was hosted by The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) as they commemorated the day with a celebration at Protea Hotel Kampala under the Theme: “IP AND YOUTH: Innovation for a Better Future” and sub Theme for Uganda “Using the IP system to achieve youth employment in Uganda.” The highlight of the event focused on the challenges faced by youth but importantly showcased the opportunity afforded by Intellectual Property to address these challenges.

The celebrations were honored by the presence of The Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development Hon. Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke as the Chief Guest of Honor.

Intellectual property (IP) is a vital part of the national creative and innovative ecosystem, especially for individual creators, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Unfortunately, IP rights are increasingly threatened by activists who deny creators and innovators their livelihoods in favor of access to free content and products. The World Intellectual Day celebrations seek to inform people about the role of intellectual property rights in encouraging innovation and creativity.

As part of the activities, URSB held a hybrid workshop with expert panelists that explored how the youth can utilize the Intellectual Property system to create employment, support youth empowerment and provide practical solutions to existing problems to have a better future.

According to the Uganda National Household Survey 2019/20, 54% of Uganda’s population is below 18 years. Uganda’s young people are an incredible source of creativity and ingenuity. According to URSB, IP Day 2022 is an opportunity for these young people to find out how IP rights can support their goals, help transform their ideas into reality, generate income, create jobs, and make a positive impact on the world around them.

Ms. Mercy K. Kainobwisho the Registrar General of URSB  noted how URSB is implementing strategic interventions to ensure the protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property. This Year’s Celebrations highlight how a strong intellectual property system can address the employment challenges amongst the youth. “The high commercial value of the intellectual property can enable the youth to reap the benefits from their creativity. Some innovations have been developed, especially in the post-pandemic era, that has disrupted the way of doing business, like conducting meetings online, delivering health services, cross-border monetary transactions, and so on. These have subsequently solved the employment challenges amongst the youth and these can be effectively protected under our intellectual property laws,” She said.

Hon. Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke emphasized in her speech said Uganda’s youth are the country’s most valuable human capital resource and constituted the engine of growth. “By supporting the youth to protect their innovation and creativity, we are creating and fostering a culture of ingenious sustainability that will drive economic growth. Young innovators are creating promising solutions, illustrating the fact that young people are not merely recipients of innovation, but co-creators of the future they will inherit. Uganda Government has continuously allocated resources to the innovation fund, in addition to establishing various institutions that promote research and innovation,”

The Government of Uganda is committed through various interventions to support young people and will continue to allocate resources to the innovation and the creative sector, in addition to supporting the various Government Institutions that promote the generation, protection, commercialization, and enforcement of Intellectual property for national development. “We have to address the Intellectual Property awareness gap among the youth starting with our educational system. We should ensure Intellectual Property is integrated into the curriculum from primary school through vocational schools to Universities,” She added.

Across the globe, young people are stepping up to innovation challenges, using their energy and ingenuity, curiosity, and creativity to steer a course towards a better future. URSB concluded its celebration with a Panel discussion that included some of the innovators under the Theme; Using the Intellectual Property system to realize youth employment in Uganda.

As a panelist, Mr. Dennis Aguma Founder, and Executive Director of NASE, in his view quoted “We need to value the intellectual Property Rights of the innovators. Intellectual Property is very important. I can’t stress this enough. It creates and supports high-paying jobs. We have to protect the ideas of the young people. There are countless opportunities for people out there to steal these ideas and so we must teach these youths how to protect their ideas and innovations,”

Then Mr. Alex Musisi, CEO Katoon Mentor Uganda, noted how Copyright is a secure way for you to publish your work. As Cartoon Network has been able to copyright one animation called Sinza.

The World Intellectual Property Organization as an international body works closely with government Institutions Like URSB to create awareness and reinforce Regulation.


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