Research Policies That Can Destroy South Africa

When we blogged on the greatest legislation, we shared some insights on the impacts of Bayh-Dole:


“In 1980, a United States legislation dealing with intellectual property emanating from federal government-funded research was implemented. The legislature called Bayh-Dole Act (after two Senators Birch Bayh of Indiana and Bob Dole of Kansas that sponsored it) or University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act gave US universities, small businesses and non-profits intellectual property rights and control of their inventions, even though they were funded by government.


Through this Act, universities, small businesses or non-profit organizations could pursue ownership of inventions in preference to the government.”


In South Africa, they are planning the opposite, in a typical African way. They hoped by making ideas funded by government to remain in shelves instead of moving to market, they will force private companies to put resources in research. It is sheer ignorance to think that companies that license patents and commercialize them from projects funded by governments are not helping the economy. If South Africa follows this path, it could be a turning point in their technology roadmaps.


Meanwhile, according to a UNCTAD report, the increasing role of large developing countries in global trade, finance, investment and governance, coupled with their rapid economic growth, has stimulated debate on the implications for Africa’s development. The report examines recent trends in the economic relationships of Africa with other developing countries and the new forms of partnership that are animating those relationships.

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