The Zimbabwe Open University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) on 13 March 2020. The ceremony took place in the institution’s 2nd Floor Boardroom at Corner House.  The MOU seeks to build human capital in Intellectual Property (IP) through joint offering of a master’s degree programme and short courses in IP.

Seated from left: ZOU Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Henry Gundani and ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos signing the MoU in the ZOU Boardroom at Corner House on 13 March 2020.


Speaking during the signing ceremony the ZOU Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Henry Gundani said, “This historic partnership marks a significant milestone between the two organisations towards realisation of Education 5.0 and Vision 2030”.  Education 5.0 calls for innovation, modernisation and industrialisation while Vision 2030 aims towards the attaining a middle income economy. In that context, the collaboration marked the transformation journey towards the development of human resources in the field of intellectual property in modern day economic development.


“Through this collaboration, ZOU would leverage on ARIPO’s expertise to deliver various IP training programmes to candidates with diverse academic and professional backgrounds which would in turn help promote innovation, entrepreneurship and industrialisation in Zimbabwe and other Sub-Saharan countries, “emphasised Professor Gundani.


The partnership has two key priority areas which focuses on: (i) increasing IP awareness among academic staff and researchers thus developing an intellectual policy to guide future intellectual property generation, exploitation, commercialization and management.  This shifts the focus from ‘publish’ or ‘perish’ to ‘protect’, ‘publish’ and ‘prosper’.  (ii) The two institutions will jointly offer a Master of Commerce in Intellectual Property or MBA in Intellectual Property as well as short courses on IP. Today’s digitalized and globalized economic environment is embedded with Artificial Intelligence (AI) which has added another dimension to the primary factors of production i.e. land, labour, capital to Intellectual property.  Offering IP courses to government, local authorities, parastatals, corporates and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) entrepreneurs and SMEs on the benefits of IP would empower them and also help them not to infringe on other people’s intellectual property rights.


ARIPO Director-General Mr. Fernando dos Santos was delighted about the partnership. He intimated that ZOU will be joining the likes of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and the University of Dar es Salaam which launched their own Masters of Philosophy in Intellectual Property in 2018 and 2019 respectively.


In his concluding remarks Mr. Fernando dos Santos, impressed that IP is increasingly becoming a key factor in the production of goods and services in today’s globalized and completive environment.  He further confirmed ARIPOs commitment to the partnership in capacity building programs at ZOU.


ARIPO was represented by the Dr Fernando dos Santos, the Director General, Dr. Outule Rapuleng, Head of ARIPO Academy and Mr. Pierre Runinga, Head of Legal and International Cooperation.  ZOU was represented by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Henry Gundani, Registrar, Mr. Alexander Tendai Kaseke, Legal Manager, Mrs Zivei Hungwe-Denga, Senior Managers, Faculty Deans and Unit Directors.


Group photo of ZOU and ARIPO staff who witnessed the signing ceremony on 13 March 2020


Seated from left: Head of Legal and International Cooperation, Mr. Pierre Runinga, Head of ARIPO Academy, Dr. Outule Rapuleng, Dean Commerce and Law, Professor, T. Njaya, A/Director, Information and Public Relations, Mr S. Mwandiwanza and on the far right Registrar, Mr. A. T. Kaseke.