altFormer Vi fellow, Fikremarkos Merso Birhanu, of Vi's Ethiopian member, Addis Ababa University, conducted a series of lectures on intellectual property rights (IPRs) for 27 students of the Master of international Trade (MIT) programme at Tanzanian Vi member, the University of Dar es Salaam, May 23-27. This South-South teaching activity was made possible through funding from the Government of Finland.

"International Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is one of the elective courses in our MIT programme," said George Gandye, Tanzanian Vi member coordinator. "While the country and university realized the increasing importance of this topic right from the inception of the MIT programme, we had not been able to deliver it to our past graduates. We therefore extend our sincere thanks to the UNCTAD Virtual Institute and the donor community for enabling this course to be delivered in 2011.  It is a bonus to our prospective MIT graduates."

"The students work with various government ministries, departments and agencies of the United Republic of Tanzania. This means the spillover effect is very strong in government policymaking processes," Gandye added.

The course discussed the existing legal framework for the protection of IPRs at various levels, (municipal, regional and international). It also addressed the international legal and institutional aspects of intellectual property rights, covering the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Rights Organization, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization, the Beme, Paris and Rome conventions, the Madrid Agreement and the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement.
As the course followed a recent Vi workshop on industrial policy for the same group, participants were able to link industrial development challenges in LDCs to the new topic. One participant noted, “while the WTO provides a forum for trade liberalization, it also sets rules to protect the free movement of technology through stringent IPRs.”
"The approach used made the training interactive, and provided special attention to issues of interest to developing countries, in particular the least developed," Gandye said. "The quality of delivery was excellent."
The Vi also purchased relevant books for UDBS to be used in future deliveries of the course.