How African Women use Intellectual property and technologies for economic development


Visionary women in Sudan using or ready to use Intellectual Property for their entrepreneurial advancement and economic development (Credit: World Intellectual Property Organization)
Visionary women in Sudan using or ready to use Intellectual Property for their entrepreneurial advancement and economic development (Credit: World Intellectual Property Organization)

In many African societies, women are the backbone of the family and society at large. Apart from running the home and taking care of children, they preserve their cultural identity and traditional knowledge while adding to their family income, providing employment for several other women and passing on skills through training. Women use their creativity and innovativeness to solve their societies’ problems.


In 1989, while commenting on Sudan in the Associated Press, Dalia Baligh reported that handcrafts vary widely because they develop from raw materials available in each region. This is not only unique in Sudan, but several parts in Africa, including Cameroon, Egypt, eSwatini, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and other countries where ILaED has had the chance to work.


As reported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), South Sudanese women use their art and craft to preserve their culture, while making a living for themselves. For example, the Roots Project was stated in 2009 with the aim of bringing together women from across South Sudan to do arts and craft as a way of preserving and promoting their culture while making a living and providing for their families.


First forward to 2021, the women in various parts of Africa continue to use their creativity to preserve culture while contributing to the household income. These women can add more value to their small businesses using intellectual property, technology and business skills. Use of IP is not only for the big companies, but for all that can generate IP assets, including visionary women all over Africa. ILaED has had the privilege of contributing to teaching visionary and entrepreneurial women to use intellectual property for their economic development. The most recent example is that of Sudan, thanks to the invitation by WIPO to ILaED to participate in the training “Workshop for Women Entrepreneurs: Intellectual Property for Branding and Product Development”, which took place on 20 and 21 September 2021 in Khartoum, Sudan.



These women embrace the fact that intellectual property is not only a reserve of the rich or rich countries, but it can be used, in combination with entrepreneurial skills, to enhance economic development.

The challenge still remains on how to improve quantity and quality of production using basic technologies and how to overcome barriers to electronic commerce in commercializing IP products. Some of these challenges are outside the scope of IP and/or technology. Instead, they are a reflection of the general financial challenges. Nevertheless, one is encouraged by the fact that women are using the little they have to produce IP protectable items and have embraced the idea of using IP for their entrepreneurial advancement.


54 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

ILaED.ORG thanks you for your support in 2021 and wishes you the best of the festive season. We are looking forward to continued collaboration in 2022. ILaED.ORG vous remercie pour votre soutien en