[Tekedia Commentary] The Rise of the West – What Africa Could Learn

All the Western nations became great because they invested in IPR . Without property rights, capitalism fails. It is time Africa fix its legal systems and provide the foundation to build a better society. In our works in Africa, we have noticed that a deep problem in Africa is lack of clarity in ownership of properties. When your patent system is weak, investors cannot put resources for creative works. This must change. And we can only rise like the west when we do what they did. They fixed their IPR and became great.

There is another caveat to this argument. Intellectual property right (IPR) is a cardinal part of this productivity. Without it, technology will not improve and innovation is stalled. The old world was an era of absence of IPR and that contributed to a no small measure to the lack of wealth creation. Sure, people invented things in arts, engineering, but there was no wealth created. Lack of IPR prevented meaningful market success in one major way. It prevented the pursuit of innovation since ideas could be stolen and commercialized with no penalty. The return to innovation was very low. That was why the world had many Inventors and few innovators.

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