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Youth innovations are a priority for government, says minister Sarah Mateke

Minister of State for Youth & Children Affairs Hon. Sarah Mateke (c), Registrar General, Mercy K. Kainobwisho listen in as Alex Musisi, a registered owner of a creative mentorship company explains their work at the .JPG

Minister of State for Youth & Children Affairs Sarah Mateke (c), Registrar General, Mercy K. Kainobwisho listen in as Alex Musisi, a registered owner of a creative mentorship company

KAMPALA – Every year, the National Intellectual Property Office, Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) joins the rest of the world to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day on April 26.  The global theme this year by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is “IP AND YOUTH: Innovation for a Better Future”. The sub-theme for Uganda is “Using the IP system to achieve youth employment in Uganda”. URSB commemorated the celebrations at the Protea Hotel in Kampala.

As part of the activities, URSB held a hybrid workshop where a panel of experts explored how the youth can utilize the Intellectual Property system to create employment, support youth empowerment and provide practical solutions to existing problems in order to have a better future. The high-level event and panel discussion showcased outstanding young innovators in the field of health, businesses, e-commerce, and the enabling environment that supports them in their quest to improve community challenges and help achieve national development goals.

This year’s theme resonates with Uganda’s status, which has one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations globally. According to the Uganda National Household Survey 2019/20, 54% of Uganda’s population is below 18 years. Uganda’s young people are an incredible source of creativity and ingenuity. According to URSB, IP Day 2022 is an opportunity for these young people to find out how IP rights can support their goals, help transform their ideas into reality, generate income, create jobs, and make a positive impact on the world around them.

Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development was the Chief Guest. In her speech, she said Uganda’s youth was the country’s most valuable human capital resource and constituted the engine of growth. ‘By supporting the youth to protect their innovation and creativity, we are creating and fostering a culture of ingenious sustainability that will drive economic growth. Young innovators are creating promising solutions, illustrating the fact that young people are not merely recipients of innovation, but co-creators of the future they will inherit. Uganda’s Government has continuously allocated resources to the innovation fund, in addition to establishing various institutions that promote research and innovation.

Mateke said Intellectual property (IP) is a vital part of the national creative and innovative ecosystem, especially for individual creators, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Unfortunately, IP rights are increasingly threatened by activists who deny creators and innovators their livelihoods in favor of access to free content and products.

The Registrar General, Mercy K. Kainobwisho while delivering her remarks affirmed that this year’s celebrations highlight how a strong intellectual property system can address the employment challenges amongst the youth. ‘The high commercial value of the intellectual property can enable the youth to reap the benefits from their creativity. There are innovations that have been developed, especially in the post-pandemic era, that have disrupted the way of doing business, like conducting meetings online, delivering health services, cross-border monetary transactions, and so on. These have subsequently solved the employment challenges amongst the youth and these can be effectively protected under our intellectual property laws’ Kainobwisho said.

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