Document Type


Publication Date



The imbalance existing within the African copyright ecosystem in relation to access to information for research and education became more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic. As teaching, learning and research inevitably occur on digital platforms, learners and researchers continue to grapple with the challenges of accessing materials owing largely to the protection of these resources under copyright law. Similarly, African libraries and knowledge curators found themselves ill-equip to perform their role of enabling access to information. To create the balance, therefore, there is a dire need for the recalibration of the African copyright system from the perspective of human rights law. Can the balance be achieved through the construction of a human right to research? In view of the existing broad freedom of expression, right to science and culture, education, and property in the global, regional and national human rights regime, is a specific right to research in Africa necessary and justifiable? If it is necessary and justifiable, what should be its minimum core components? Are there existing international and national regimes to support the formulation of a human right to research in Africa? Conducted as desk research and scoping study, this work unpacks and addresses the issues with the aim of constructing a human right to research in Africa.