Museveni Calls for the Adoption of Copyright Laws (1)
On Friday, President Museveni said Africa is home to some of the world's most diverse cultures, traditions, and original compositions. PHOTO/TWITTER

President Museveni has urged the member states of the Africa Regional Industrial Property Organisation (ARIPO) to adopt the protocol on voluntary registration, notification of copyright and related rights.

While officiating at the ARIPO conference on Friday, President Museveni said Africa is home to some of the world’s greatest cultures, traditions and original compositions of a diverse nature.

He said the continent has a very rich heritage which is manifested in most of the music and musical instruments, dances, oral literature, sports, medicines, pottery, sculptures, paintings, and traditional ceremonies.

The president, however, said while civilization started in Africa, the biggest problem was that it was never institutionalized and regulated. It remained an individual and tribes skill. 

“The African Chiefs and Kings, who were the rulers of the African states before the conquest of Africa by the imperialists, failed to protect and preserve our rich heritage. They were consumed with tribal rivalry amongst themselves instead of consolidating and safeguarding Africa’s unique cultural treasures,” Museveni said.

“The evils of Slave trade and Colonialism caused huge disruptions to Africa’s cultural development. Our social fabric was severely torn apart causing great loss of confidence in our creations and innovations.Therefore, both Africa’s art and science were stagnated.”

He added that in some areas, it was completely wiped out and replaced by European technology, beliefs, systems and practices.

The president further raised that the physical conquest of Africa did not manage to completely wipe away the African race.

“For instance, the Red Indians in America, the total eradication of the African cultural heritage did not also entirely succeed. A lot of our treasures like our rich languages, songs, paintings etc. which depict the complexity of the civilization which existed in Africa before colonialism have been preserved,” Museveni added.

He, however, stressed that Africa has tremendous cultural and technological potential which can be greatly enhanced through copyright protection. 

He said the globalization of the world economy has made knowledge a critical element in attaining socio-economic transformation; but, the majority of African countries have not exploited the benefits that intellectual property rights offer to its users, despite considerable improvements to existing knowledge and options for protecting knowledge.

“Research into traditional medicine is particularly important in Africa in making good use of our natural and richly endowed environment. Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America use traditional medicine to help meet some of their primary health care needs. 

The age-old cures that kept our forefathers disease-free must be given enough attention so that we improve on them and preserve their use. One of our products, Covidex, has been tried among some Covid patients and most of them have fully recovered,” Museveni raised.

He disclosed that despite all these benefits Museveni said the African cultural heritage is not anywhere near succeeding but said that for the cultural and technological potential these can be greatly enhanced through copyright protection. 

“Although the economic philosophy behind copyright protection is to encourageindividual effort, there is stilllimited awareness ofits importance. As a result,the rights’ holders do notprofitably gain from their innovations,” Museveni revealed. 

“Therefore, thisConference will help the ARIPO member states to build a positive attitude towards copyright; appreciate the benefits of copyright protection and develop stringent enforcement mechanisms to protect Intellectual Property to aid sustainable growth of creative industries in Africa. In conclusion, I urge you to embrace the Protocol on Voluntary Registration and Notification of Copyright and Related Rights.”