This online symposium is the outcome of a workshop on ‘GVCs, Trade and Development’ hosted by the Kent Law School and IEL collective in July 2020 and supported by the British Academy (Grant no. MD19\190020). The workshop engaged with the policy research literature produced by the World Trade Organisation and World Bank since 2013, in particular their Global Value Chain Development (GVCD) reports of 2017 and 2019.
Intellectual Property Rights
There is no doubt that solving this pandemic is the most pressing challenge of our time. This is not a zero sum game. Below, I elaborate on the four points for effective global solidarity to tackle the pandemic.
In the webinar, the panelists brilliantly discussed salient subjects pertinent to global intellectual property (IP) rights rules and relevant implementation mechanisms at regional and national levels. In quintessential Afronomicslaw.org fashion, the discussions underscored Global South interests and reinforced the importance of fostering development-oriented IP systems.
As part of research, ILRSC introduced a booklet series on international law and Nepal in the beginning of 2020. The first booklet is on the significance of international law. Others are on Customary International Law, TWAIL, and Treaties. These are yet to be published. Student interns work as research assistants for these booklets. This is a small attempt to keep afloat the interest in PIL despite the paucity of resources.
Welcome to the first Afronomicslaw.org Indaba. Indaba is a Zulu and Xhosa word that refers to a meeting to discuss a serious topic – it also refers to a discussion on a matter of concern or for discussion. This occasional series will discuss issues relating to international economic law relating to Africa, the developing world and the Global South.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised salient questions about global intellectual property rights rules and their implementation at regional, sub-regional and national levels. These questions revolve around the tensions between private rights and the public interest. For example, how can governments employ flexibilities and other measures to facilitate access to pharmaceutical products including drugs, vaccines, test kits, personal protective equipment and related technologies? Or how can governments navigate the intersections of copyright and the right to education to promote access to educational materials for teaching and learning? Broader conceptual, practical, and institutional issues, foregrounded on fostering development-oriented intellectual property rights systems in the Global South, will be analysed from different perspectives.
Traditional medicines have an equally important role as vaccines, therapeutics and medical devices protected through classical IPRs such as patents. For this reason, it is important to include traditional medicines within the scope of IPR protection, including within the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement. Doing so would go beyond the classical debate of protecting medicines, vaccines and therapeutics mainly through patents as currently understood within the TRIPS Agreement.
governments need to ensure that the interventionary measures they seek to implement must be tempered with and evaluated against the special needs and dynamics of their countries. The fragility of our economies, the growing debt levels, the development challenges they pose, and the social and economic vulnerability of a significant segment of our populations ought to be important considerations in developing response and containment measures against Covid-19.
On 22 April, the President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina, launched what he called a cure for coronavirus, Covid Organics (CVO). The announcement drew interest from a few African countries and to date countries like Tanzania, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia and Senegal have already received shipment of CVO. While some have been sceptical about the remedy, others have praised it as an example of traditional medicine, reigniting a discussion around traditional medicine and intellectual property rights.
Digitalisation is changing the way we understand IEL. New streams of revenue generation resulting from online or digital economic activities remains untapped and unapplied towards steering economic growth. Despite the fact that these new digital models have been met with novel regulatory and tax approaches globally, they are proving problematic in terms of identifying the activity upon which tax should be based. This is because traditional tax rules do not contemplate digital aspects as sources of taxable income. The role of IEL in the digitalisation of the economy therefore, merits consideration, specifically in the area of domestic resource mobilisation as a factor for economic growth especially in Africa.