The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Intellectual Property Day, on 26 April. The global theme this year by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was IP AND YOUTH: Innovation for a Better Future. The sub-theme for Uganda was Using The IP System To Achieve Youth Employment In Uganda.
RSB commemorated the celebration at Protea Hotel, Kampala. As part of the activities, they held a hybrid workshop where a panel of experts explored how the youth can utilise the IP system to create employment, support youth empowerment and provide practical solutions to existing problems to have a better future. The high-level event and panel discussion showcased outstanding young innovators in the field of health, businesses, e-commerce, and the enabling environment that supports them in their quest to improve community challenges and help achieve national development goals.
Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke, the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, 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. Our government has continuously allocated resources to the innovation fund, in addition to establishing various institutions that promote research and innovation”, said Mateke. She pointed out that 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.
The Registrar General, Mercy K. Kainobwisho, affirmed that this year’s celebrations highlight how a strong intellectual property system can address the employment challenges among the youth. “The high commercial value of intellectual property can enable the youth reap the benefits of their creativity. There are innovations that have been developed, especially in the post-pandemic era, that have disrupted the way of doing business, like conducting meetings online, delivering health services, cross-border monetary transactions, and so on,” she said. These have subsequently solved the employment challenges among the youth, and these can be effectively protected under the intellectual property laws.
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.
This year’s theme resonates with Uganda’s status, which has one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations globally. According to the Uganda National Household Survey 2019/20, 54 per cent of Uganda’s population is below 18 and is 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.