Intellectual Property, Health, Regionalism and Development: A Third World’s Perspective
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in September 2015 as a post 2015 development agenda. Goal 9 of the SDGs is to ‘build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation’. Much has been written on the connection between intellectual property and development. With respect to developing countries, arguments have been canvassed both for and against intellectual property in the pursuit of their development goals. The adoption of the TRIPS Agreement in 1994 heralded a new era of global intellectual property governance aimed at a substantial harmonisation of intellectual property protection standards across the globe. This continues to raise continuing concerns in relation to the extent to which IP could foster development and industrialisation in developing countries and whether the global IP regime is designed in a way that sufficiently protects the interest of the developing and least developed nations. The development rhetoric is assuming an increasing significance in Africa given the continent’s varying development challenges. This calls for some reflection on the interface between IP protection and the pursuit of sustainable human and economic development. The paper examines the link between intellectual property and health and how it relates to sustainable development in the African context.