Shikwati et al

James S. Shik­wa­ti’s inter­view on Der Spie­gel in July this year actual­ly stir­red up some deba­tes over here — may­be also due to that nice but useless Live8 event that took place during that time.
Just two days ago, I came accross this inte­res­ting paper Shik­wa­ti pre­sen­ted in Novem­ber 2003 on a work­shop cal­led “Cam­pai­gning for Free Tra­de”, orga­nis­ed by the Libe­ral Insti­tu­te of the Fried­rich Nau­man Foun­da­ti­on. In this paper, Shik­wa­ti gives a sum­ma­ri­zed over­view on what Intel­lec­tu­al Pro­per­ty Rights (IPR) are (Patent, Trade­mark, Copy­right, etc.) and what kind of effect they have on Deve­lo­p­ment in Afri­ca (of cour­se, from his point of view — as libe­ral as it is). He con­clu­des that “Afri­ca must urgent­ly sei­ze this oppor­tu­ni­ty of pro­tec­ting intel­lec­tu­al pro­per­ty (…) to attract more invest­ment”.
And the rea­son I am men­tio­ning all this: Ory’s covering of the Popt­ech event as well as her men­tio­ning of the XPri­ze com­pe­ti­ti­on and Fab­Lab make me belie­ve that the­re are some peop­le out the­re that do not necessa­ri­ly just do what the main­stream does (~fol­lowing gui­de­li­nes) but who see a real pos­si­bi­li­ty and know that chan­ge — and I am not tal­king about Afri­ca only — will depend on peop­le and not on governments. That we (you, me, ever­yo­ne) can chan­ge a lot and that all tho­se hel­pful tools are alrea­dy here — we just need to pick them up and use them.
I just want to get away from this posi­ti­on that the­re might be “others” on top of us that will tell us or even know wha­t’s good for us if, after all, we all know what governments are capa­ble of doing and even worse what they are not. I think it is about time for us to start our own rea­son­ab­le pro­jects that will put the peop­le, the bene­fi­cia­ries, in the focus and give them the know­ledge to advan­ce. Be it in a tech­no­lo­gi­cal or social sense.

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