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Indigenous Knowledge: Protecting by law
Recent years have seen rising interest in the commercial exploitation of indigenous knowledge, especially traditional medicinal knowledge. But there are serious concerns on who benefits, and these concerns have in some cases led to the passing of laws to regulate the use of indigenous knowledge.

What DLIST users say… ”When we talk of indigenous knowledge the following questions usually arise. Who owns it? Who may use it? Who decides how to use the indigenous knowledge and for what purpose? And how should its owners be compensated?”

It has been suggested that the creators of the knowledge—the indigenous people—should after all have the final control over the knowledge that is recorded and exchanged within all such systems. The SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) incorporates Indigenous Knowledge into its Science and technology priorities.

There is no specific national legislation dedicated to indigenous knowledge management in Angola, Namibia or South Africa. But in South Africa provisions in some legislation do include indigenous knowledge.

The South African Draft Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill of June 2007, Amendment of Section 17 of Act 68 0f 2001, in its section 44, sub-section 44 paragraph (c), states that any research institution, with regard to investigations and research conducted by its employees, must protect all rights of the person or community arising from the original indigenous knowledge and any invention, discovery or improvements.
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The South African government has also developed an Indigenous Knowledge Policy System. The policy serves as an enabling framework to stimulate and strengthen the contribution of indigenous knowledge to social and economic development in South Africa.