Intellectual Property, Traditional Knowledge, Access Benefit Sharing Policy Environment in Eight Countries in Eastern and Southern Africa: Swaziland, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia

There is need for the African states to develop appropriate policies and legal frameworks to enable the local communities to benefit through Access and Benefit Sharing of their resources nurtured for a long time. The purpose of the study was to build a body of knowledge on the current status of existing IP systems and examine International treaties, conventions and agreements in terms of opportunities for recognition and protection of Traditional Knowledge, Traditional and cultural expressions and Access and Benefit systems. The status of intellectual/industrial property was that: only three countries Lesotho, Tanzania and Kenya are TRIPS compliant; other countries rely on ARIPO for examination of patents except for Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia; Swaziland and Uganda still use colonial laws, but have Bills under process; Ethiopia has patents, trademarks and copyrights under one office; Others have them in different ministries. Its only Kenya that has a draft IP Policy, others have only initiated development of policies. Most patents granted are foreign except for limited cases in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda; Trademarks are functional in all 8 countries and copyright laws are functional in all the 8 countries."