Intellectual Interview with Geoffrey Yu, Deputy Director General WIPO
Intellectual Property Watch, publication date: 24 March 2006
"Let me give you an example of what we are doing in Ethiopia, where we are trying to help create intellectual property value. About half of the economy of the country is based on agriculture. Its largest and most important research institute is the agricultural research institute. We have just started a national project funded by WIPO which has two aspects. One is to provide this research institute with the capacity to use the IP system in order to manage the results of its research. The institute is doing some interesting and original research. We have been talking with the director general of that institute, as well as with the deputy prime minister, who is also the minister of agriculture, both of whom I had the pleasure to meet, in order to build the capacity for them to decide whether, with the results of the research, they would like to license in, license out, create startup companies, or share the research results freely within the agricultural sector. That is for the institute to decide.
This is one aspect of our advice and support in Ethiopia. The other aspect is that we are undertaking with them a national survey of the traditional knowledge accumulated over centuries in the country in technology related to farming, because a lot of the farming is still traditional. But there has not been, so far as we are aware, full documentation or an inventory of those techniques or know-how. So we plan to initiate an identification and documentation exercise with the national authorities. The two aspects of the project will complement each other and we are confident that it will serve the country by improving agriculture revenue. This is a good example of what WIPO is doing on the ground."