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Recognizing Africa’s role in the global knowledge economy.
Research Area

Metrics, Laws, and Policies


Open AIR Expert

Chidi Oguamanam

Chidi Oguamanam

Professor at University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law


Africa always appears at the tail of rankings of knowledge and innovation indices. Does this mean there is no knowledge produced in Africa? Is there no innovation happening on the continent?

On the contrary, it simply means the way we measure innovation in Africa is ill-suited to the task.

Most of the knowledge and innovation indicators measure how many patents were filed, and how many copyrights were registered. That may reflect innovation in developed countries, but it can’t portray the wealth of knowledge and innovation organically created in Africa that especially thrives in the informal economy.

Open AIR’s research is focused on finding alternative ways to assess knowledge production and use in African contexts, with special focus on innovation.

To find out more about this aspect of our research, visit our case studies page, or our annual report.

Better metrics, better policies for knowledge and innovation in Africa

By Nagla Rizk The Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) leads the research on metrics, laws and policies within the Open African Innovation Research…

Eashan Karnik August 15, 2018

US Fails to Block Progress over Genetic Resources Text at WIPO-IGC 36

Photo credit: Image by Ville Oksanen via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) By Chidi Oguamanam, cross-posted from ABS Canada. After six days of deliberations (June 24-29,…

admin July 11, 2018

Open AIR Expansion au Maroc

By Sara Yassine  Au cours des six derniers mois, le laboratoire de recherche « Entrepreneuriat et Management des Organisations » (LABO-EMO) et Open AIR ont…

Victoria Schorr May 25, 2018

WIPO Expert Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions Takes Another Look at Draft Genetic Resources Text in 2018

By Chidi Oguamanam For the 35th time in 18years, experts have yet again gathered at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) headquarters in Geneva…

Victoria Schorr March 26, 2018

Reconciling Intellectual Property Rights and African Development: The Right to Development Conference Charts the Way Forward

By Uchenna Felicia Ugwu In September 2017, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law University of Pretoria gathered together…

Victoria Schorr February 18, 2018

Egypt’s New Investment Law: Creating Better Opportunities for Small Businesses?

By Sarah El Saeed The Egyptian Government has begun in pushing through a fiscal and monetary reform plan that includes various unpopular austerity measures. In…

Victoria Schorr February 12, 2018

Open AIR's Sileshi Hirko wins competitive grant

Mr. Sileshi Hirko, a PhD candidate in the Common Law Section of the University of Ottawa, has won the Civil Society Scholars Award (CSSA). CSSA is a research grant…

Victoria Schorr February 3, 2018

Open AIR NERG presents at Windsor Symposium on Copyright User Rights and Access to Justice

By Uchenna Ugwu How can “user rights” and exceptions to copyright be used most effectively to ensure access to knowledge for all? This question is a very…

Victoria Schorr July 24, 2017

WIPO Special Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Traditional Cultural Expression Shies Away from Consolidating its Mandate but Agrees on Lack of Indigenous Participation

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s specialist committee charged with negotiating text-based instrument(s) for the effective protection of Genetic Resources…

Victoria Schorr June 28, 2017

Challenging the Meaning of Innovation: Lessons from Refugee-Founded Organizations in Kampala

There is often a limited and constricted view of African innovation, especially when it comes to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). While there is…

Victoria Schorr May 23, 2017

Common Misconceptions of Patents in Egypt

Earlier this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a two-day workshop on “Supporting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Use the Intellectual…

Victoria Schorr April 18, 2017

Open AIR East Africa Distinguished Speaker Series: Dr. Henry Mutai on IP, Trade and Regional Integration in Africa

On 10 June 2015, the Agreement establishing a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was signed in Egypt bringing together 26 African countries from three major regional…

Victoria Schorr March 23, 2017


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