Technology and the legal framework of its transfer in Zambia

Thumbnail Image
Kunkuta, J Musesha C. C.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
In Zambia industrial development is a recent phenomenon. Development was introduced into Zambia by the British South Africa Company at the close of last century; with copper mining emerging as the most important economic activity in the country, eventually resulting in the development of a limited "export enclave" type of economy which was inherited at independence. The emergence of the export enclave and the colonial Government's inability to plan and formulate effective economic policies militated against any development in the whole of Zambia apart from the Copperbelt and the line of rail. Consequently at independence Zambia was still under developed with a lot of people displaced from rural areas to urban areas and making the provision of jobs to the urban dwellers the greatest problem that Zambia had to face.The government therefore embarked on the process of diversifying the economy with the hope of encouraging the setting up of manufacturing industries. Manufacturing industries could not pick up on the ground that Zambia lacked a class of local professional managers, capable of controlling manufacturing enterprises. Zambia lacks know-how and has to look elsewhere for the supply of entrepreneurship, management and know-how. To achieve the necessary diversification of the economy,some aspects of technology transfer had to be incorporated in the economic programme of the country. The problems of underdevelopment and the economic background of Zambia, and the steps Zambia has taken in securing foreign technology and the attempts made to control the terms under which technology is acquired and the reaction of the international community to the whole question of the technology transfer form the subject matter of this dissertation. Since each country's approach to, and concept of technology transfer vary from that of the other it is not surprising that Zambia has opted to use the Industrial Development Act (now repealed) and the Investment Act as mechanisms through which to control the transfers as opposed to using the widely used method of patent laws. This dissertation looks at the legal framework of technology transfer in Zambia with a view to determining whether there exists an effective legal system, capable of ensuring technology transfer under fair and reasonable terms, and the determining of whether or not the existence of an appropriate legal framework necessarily constitutes a panacea to all the problems associated with technology transfer. This dissertation looks at the conditions under which technology was transferred before and after the enactment of the Industrial Development Act of 1977 with a view to determining whether there were any differences between the conditions imposed during each period. The main body of the study concerns itself with Zambia's reaction to technology transfer, and with the attempts that have been made and continue to be made by the international community, and the various groups' reactions to technology transfer. Deliberate emphasis is given to the international legal framework, in particular the Paris Convention which is the basic instrument that regulates patent legislation for most countries of the world, and the main legal instruments of international cooperation in the field of legal protection of industrial property and technology transfer.The reason for this is to determine whether the various international instruments have a role to play in ensuring that technology transfer takes place under fair, and reasonable terms. This is with a view to confirming what has often been stated that development of national economy in less developed countries (LDCS) greatly depends upon the condition under which they acquire foreign technology and specifically those deriving from Patent rights. The points on which the whole study revolves include: (a) that technology transfer is essential for industrialization; (b) that the existence of an appropriate legel framework does not necessarily constitute a panacea to all the problems associated with technology transfer; (c) that a more permanent solution lies in Zambia's ability to acquire its own trained manpower. Training is advocated and emphasized as a critical factor if technology transfer capable of adaptation is going to be realized and help to attain the declared objective of national restructuring and the diversification of the economy; (d)that where efforts are being made to regulate the conditions under which technology is acquired, the institutional framework intended for the purpose should be made into a multi-disciplinary group and this group should have access to all relevant documentation and in particular patent documents; and (e)since technology transfer arrangements transcend national borders and to be effectively controlled it is important that the international community cooperate in eliminating all restrictive conditions that find themselves in all transfer of technology arrangements. In Zambia it has long been recognized that components of development are man, money and machines (embodied technology). Each is essential and no two can succeed without the third. Yet in Zambia, up to now this critical mixture is difficult to attain. At various forums it has been and continues to be argued that the basic problem to tackle for the international community is the one sided relationship under which the possession of know-how and capital resources is unequally distributed0 The third of these critical elements-man, has not received enough attention, particularly as regards training. It may be worth mentioning here that Zambian technical education is weake The education system has not been guided by Zambia's manpower needs and has failed to provide Zambia with the education and skills needed to build and develop the country. The dissertation ends by urging the Zambian government to take up the challenge of transforming the Zambian people into a skilled work force, capable of achieving coherent development through the aid of technology transfer. The study also urges the government to undertake studies in the field of technology transfer in Zambia and to make all technology transfer agreements more accessible to the public. It is only through publications of all the agreements that Zambia has entered into that will make Zambians aware of the conditions attached to the use of various technologies. In this way it is hoped similar mistakes could be avoided in future.
Technology--Law and legislation- -Zambia