The Honourable Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez has called on tertiary and higher education institutions to be innovative and proactive towards providing solutions to key societal problems through research and development.
This was during the official opening of the Intellectual Property (IP) Seminar, supported by the IP Office of The Gambia at the Ministry of Justice, University of The Gambia (UTG) and Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). The event was held on the 3rd of August, 2022, at the OIC Conference center in Bijilo.
Intellectual Property (IP), as defined by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. It covers issues relative to Copyrights, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Traditional Knowledge, Technology Transfer.
In his remarks, Hon. Pierre Gomez outlined that MoHERST recognizes the fundamental role innovation plays in building solid foundations to promote businesses and industries.
“Conscious of this, we are providing the policy environment that fosters innovation and strengthen research and development capacities” Hon. Prof. Gomez said.
The Minister of Higher Education also informed that efforts are at an advanced stage towards the establishment of a National Innovation Fund that will be utilized to promote research and innovation. According to him, the Fund would support the effective functioning of the innovation system (NIS) of The Gambia by contributing to the development of small and medium enterprise’s growth, as well as increase competitiveness, access to finance, new markets and job creation.
Hon. Prof. Gomez went on to highlight that the establishment of the University of Science Engineering and Technology (USET) and Regional TVET Centers across the country have been anchored on the primary objective of developing the skills for middle-level learners, who in turn will be innovators and entrepreneurs that bring about solutions that will address societal challenges as well as meet the emerging trends in technological development.
Having just completed a tour up-country to rural TVET institutions, the Minister of MoHERST shared that he amazed by the number of innovations and inventions being developed by students and teachers. However, what became eminent to him, is that there is an urgent need for them to capitalize on the IP regime to help take these to another level of protection and subsequent commercialization.
Furthermore, Hon. Gomez challenged tertiary and higher education institutions, especially those under his purview to promote and uphold IPR, especially as it relates to plagiarism, online training material content development, software development, nurturing the patent system and its benefits, as well as institutionalize Intellectual Property Policies in line with the National Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy (NIPS) of The Gambia.
Finally, the Hon. Minister of Higher Education thanked UTG for leading the successful conduct of the Intellectual Property Seminar, while encouraging them to work closely with all the relevant IP stakeholders to help diffuse IP in all sectors of development.