ACA2K Executive Policy Brief: Ghana
1. Introduction: the ACA2K Project and the ACA2K Research
This African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) project seeks to investigate the relationship between
copyright and access to knowledge in eight African countries. The eight networked countries comprise Ghana, Egypt, Mozambique, Kenya, Morocco, Uganda, Senegal and South Africa. The overarching belief is that copyright has the capacity to either promote or hinder access to knowledge. Therefore, a study was carried out, with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa, Canada and South Africa’s Shuttleworth Foundation, to better understand the interaction between access to knowledge and the copyright environment in Ghana.
Since 2008, the ACA2K network has gathered research evidence and engaged (and will continue to engage) with stakeholders in efforts to increase access to learning materials in the study countries. Access to both digital and hard- copy resources has been probed, with particular emphasis on the tertiary education sector.
1.1 Ghana Research Team
The Ghana research team comprises three copyright experts: Poku Adusei, Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi and Naana Halm. Poku Adusei is the leader of the Ghana ACA2K team. He is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana
Legon. He is also a doctoral candidate at McGill University in Montréal, Canada.
Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi. He is currently a Member of Parliament for Asante Akyem North Constituency.
Naana Halm lectures in business law at Ashesi University and heads the IP division at Fugar & Company law firm, Accra.
1.2 Purpose of Study
The objective of this study was to undertake an independent and comprehensive assessment of the impact of the copyright environment on access to learning materials in Ghana. It was aimed at highlighting the constraints placed on access to knowledge by developing evidence-based research needed to influence copyright policymaking and practice in Ghana.
Supporting the above objective is the opinion that ‘knowledge underpins everything, including economies.’1 This resonates
with the aphorism that ‘knowledge is power.
The emergence of the Internet and the digital world has changed the way people access, produce and share information and knowledge. In theory, these revolutionary factors should have facilitated access by Ghanaians to knowledge and knowledge-based products. Yet people in Ghana face fundamental challenges in accessing scholarly publications, journals and learning materials in general. Understanding the commercial, legal and normative constraints on access to knowledge in Ghana and identifying relevant lessons, best policies and practices that would broaden and deepen this access, have therefore become essential to the development of the country.
1P Drahos ‘Access to knowledge: time for a treaty?’ (April 2005) Bridges 9(4) ICTSD. Available at http://www.ictsd.org/monthly/ bridges/BRIDGES9-4.pdf [Accessed April 2008].