Following the first online meeting of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) sub-group of the ad hoc working group on Geographical Indications (GIs), which took place on 16 June 2022, the second meeting met at the ARIPO Secretariat in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 26 and 27 July. The two-day in person meeting was attended by representatives of the countries in the sub-working group namely: Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe being the host country. The representative of ZIPO also attended
Formed at the last session of the Administrative council, the aim of the sub-group of the ad hoc working group was to discuss the most suitable legal framework for the protection of GIs in the ARIPO Member States. Two consultants recruited by AfrIPI assisted the sub-group. One will work on the legal assistance – legal gap analysis and review of the existing protocol on GIs. Meanwhile, the second consultant will focus on the general needs assessment for managing GIs in the ARIPO region.
The meeting in Harare was officially opened by the Director General of ARIPO, Mr Bemanya Twebaze. ‘In addition, the rationale for GI protection is still highly relevant to our Member States as it is meant to protect and preserve intellectual property related to traditional cultures, geographical diversity, and production methods. It also protects a wide range of local products that correspond to the concept of a GI, thus presenting a useful contribution to increasing income and alleviating poverty, particularly in rural areas’, Mr Bemanya Twebaze said.
Among other presentations and discussions at the session, Member States had the opportunity to share their experiences with GIs in their countries. Zimbabwe also shared their practical experience gained from potential GIs, with presentations on Kariba Bream and Shona Art. The workshop ended on a high note, with the next meeting being tentatively scheduled for August.