African Union (Addis Ababa)

6 February 2014

Africa: AUC Chairperson Calls for Respect of Africa's Intellectual Property Rights

press release

AUC Chairperson calls for respect of Africa's intellectual property rights

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Thursday, 6 February 2014, held a brief meeting with the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPA), Mr. Francis Gurry, who was on an official visit to Ethiopia. They discussed areas of cooperation between their two institutions.

The AUC Chairperson and WIPO General Director talked about the indigenous knowledge component that Africa increasingly produces, which constitute an important aspect of intellectual property with great economic value, but which is currently being ignored. They agreed on the need to pay closer attention to Africa's property rights, in particular, and the intellectual property system as a whole.

The two also arrived at the understanding on the necessity to step up political momentum necessary to overcome some of the challenges in the sector, notably getting full engagements from the industrialists, who are feet-dragging for as long as possible, in order to continue with the abusive exploitation.

While calling for respect of Africa's property rights, she welcomed the AUC's collaboration with the Africa International Property Organisation (OAPI) and WIPO, to bridge the justice gap, while ensuring that the necessary international treaties are enacted to stop the exploitation.

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