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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a historical account of the development of intellectual property (IP) law on the African continent, and how IP systems and their transposed legislation displaced existing knowledge governance systems. It discusses how the entrenched primarily extractor-biased IP system in the post-TRIPs era led to a compliance confidence crisis in which ill-equipped African states were overwhelmed by the political dynamics that led to a compliance overdrive manifested in developing countries and least-developed countries (LDCs) enacting provisions they were not required to enact under prevailing transitional periods. In this context, it canvasses the continent’s attempt to leverage fully TRIPS flexibilities, and discusses the current continental IP system. It briefly considers the protection of traditional knowledge and plant varieties as exemplars of aspects of IP that are critical to the continent due to the nature of the primacy of a traditional way of life for a significant portion of its population.

Keywords: intellectual property, Africa, colonialization, development, Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization, least-developed countries, regional economic communities, REC

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