By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has recently launched the Gambia Intellectual Property (IP) policy and strategy 2018-2023 after it was approved by the cabinet in December.
The Chamber also celebrated intellectual property day under the theme “SMEs and intellectual property law; taking your ideas to market”.
IP refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions literary and artistic works designs and symbols, names, and images used in commerce.
The main objectives of intellectual property are to encourage innovation and to provide incentives for innovation by granting protection to inventors that will allow them to recover research and development investment and reap the benefits of their inventions for a limited period of time.
Hon. Dawda A. Jallow, Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, said this day is celebrated annually and brings together partners, organizations, and creators around the globe to create greater awareness and visibility on the values and utilization of intellectual property.
“This year’s theme as resolved by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is intellectual property and SMEs taking your ideas to the market”. This theme is predicated on the fact that every business, no matter how big, was first generated by an idea from the intellectual, before eventually flourishing in the market. It is therefore not a coincidence that this year’s celebration is being held at GCCI which has one of the largest memberships of SMEs in the country. I want to seize this opportunity to thank the CEO for the collaboration and I hope it grows from strength to strength for the benefit of Gambian SMEs.”
Hon. Jallow stated that SMEs are today undoubtedly the driver of change and growth on the African continent.
They make up the bulk of Africa’s economy contributing to more than 99% of businesses and employing 66% of work in their own local context. SMEs contribute to 20% of GDP and employs an estimated 605 of the urban workforce.
He added that the government has over the years put in appropriate legal frameworks and strategies, all geard towards building the entrepreneurial capacity of SMEs, increasing access to capital, and supporting creativity and innovation.
“The implementation process of the Gambia IP policy and strategy 2018-2023 has been spearheaded by the National intellectual property council which comprises the IP stakeholders in the Gambia. It is my pleasure to inform you that the intellectual property bill 2021 was drafted by Gambian intellectual property experts. This is a pride for us and a clear demonstration that intellectual property capacity is growing”.
He highlighted that this bill intends to reform the registrar general’s office and will introduce positive changes in the institutional framework and administration of intellectual property.
Abdoulie Colley, Registrar General, said these years IP day is dedicated to SMEs because they are considered to be the backbone of the economy. They make up 90% of the world’s companies, employers of 70% of the workforce, and make up half of the world economy, he added.
Aliue Jallow, Registrar of Compaines, said owning intellectual property protects businesses from others using something identical or similar to their creation, brand or product, and can also create new source of revenue should they desire to license their goods and services out to third parties.
“Without protection, businesses could end up spending a lot more money in defending against someone else or even rebranding, and miss out on commercial opportunities.”
He said intellectual property empowers individuals, enterprises, or other entities to exclude others from the use of their creations without their consent.
He said the intellectual property office MoJ partnered with the GCCI in the deployment of projects aimed at introducing a strategic use of the intellectual system coupled with product brand techniques for value addition, IP knowledge in promoting innovation, and IP management.