A False Dawn?: TRIPs and TRIPs-Plus Impacts in Africa

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Gervais, Daniel, ed. Intellectual Property, Trade and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.


Intellectual property (International law); Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (1994 April 15)


For over a century, African states have participated in international intellectual property rights (IPRs) regimes with little reward in terms of transfer of technology and development of local innovation. The TRIPs era has not been much different. The intensification of global regulation of IPRs in Africa has not induced a transfer of technology from the industrialized states to Africa. Rather, TRIPs and TRIPS-plus rules would appear to have contributed to the de-industrialization of the continent. Despite adhering to virtually all contemporary international IPRs legal instruments, African states continue to suffer net losses in global trade in IPRs-related goods and services. Perhaps, the time is right for African states to look beyond mere adhesion to international IPRs instruments and focus on extra-IPRs factors like science education, political stability, infrastructural development, and health-care for its populace. These are the variables that enable and foster innovation, inventiveness, and transfer of technology.


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By permission of Oxford University Press.

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