ZANZIBAR has expressed its commitment towards protection of Intellectual Property (IP) in the country, saying people in the islands are particularly happy with the support for the branding of 'Zanzibar cloves.'
"Copyright theft and infringement continues to severely damage both investment in artists and our national economies at large through a number of new films and music releases in many parts of the world," Hamad said.
He was opening the 36th conference of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) at the Zanzibar beach resort. Copyright industry has a big impact to the economy. If these rights are protected the creators and right holders will benefit," he emphasized.
According to him, Zanzibar with assistance from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is in the process of preparing Intellectual Property Policy.
A total of 75 delegates from 18 ARIPO member countries are attending the conference organized by the Registrar General- Zanzibar, Tanzania Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (BRELA), and ARIPO.
Representatives from WIPO, EU, International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFFRO); The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), and France's National Inter-Professional Association for Seeds and Plants (GNIS) are attending the conference.
Other organizations attending the meeting include Africa Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA), Common Market for Eastern and southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).
Delegates were scheduled to discuss among other things administrative matters and accountability, the development of Information Technology (IT), geographical indication, the ARIPO budget, and the elections of new ARIPO leaders.
Meanwhile EU and ARIPO signed a cooperation agreement at the conference aiming at improving protection for traditional agricultural product in Africa. The cooperation will result in better protection for the traditional and indigenous products of farmers across the continent of Africa, and particularly an important initiative to help secure the interests of local farmers.
ARIPO was formed on December 9, 1979 in Lusaka- Zambia (Lusaka agreement) with aim of sharing, promoting, and having a legal protection of African culture and heritage. ARIPO member states are also supposed to help protect copy rights, patent, trade mark, design and innovations and ownership.