This book chapter by Dr Chijioke Okorie forms part of an edited volume on Artificial Intelligence and the law in Africa.
The chapter is premised on the argument that the use of the IP system to take advantage of the opportunities, and overcome the challenges, of AI on the African continent should be based on the recognition of the contextual characteristics that exist in the continent as embodied in expressed development plans. The chapter takes a brief but closer look at South Africa’s NDP 2030, highlighting the role of AI in the actualisation of the development goals. More significantly, the chapter showcases the contextual characteristics of South Africa as a microcosm of the African continent to show how such context should necessitate a different AI IP policy. It concludes that the imperative for South Africa and other African countries is to facilitate AI applications across all sectors of the economy. Such AI applications in health, education, governance etc. will contribute to Africa’s development. The chapter also presents an overview of the varied uses of the IP systems (specifically copyright and patent laws) to promote creativity; inventiveness and innovation. On this basis, the chapter supports the argument that the grant or conferment of IPRs is not the only way to facilitate investment and innovation in the AI space or to harness the opportunities of AI or address the challenges posed by AI. Rather, the IP system also offers scope delineation and exceptions to IP protection that can also (and perhaps better) facilitate investment and innovation in the AI space. The chapter concludes by proposing strategies within the IP systems that can enable Africa to take advantage of the opportunities, and overcome the challenges, of AI on the continent.
The chapter is available open access.