Liberia's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh has underscored the need for African countries to create policy, and instate measures of good Intellectual Property (IP) in order for the continent's youthful populations to gain their potentials.
"Africa needs good IP regime that will maximize its youthful potential. You will agree that Africa is the leading continent in creativity," Minister Tarpeh stated Monday, 18 November at the opening of the 43rd Session of the Administrative Council of the Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) in Margibi County.
As a Guest of Honor at the ARIPO meeting, Minister Tarpeh rallies all government representatives - local and foreign - to develop policies and adopt laws that are IP friendly.
He tells a cross section of participants that it is important for every member state's political actors to formulate policies that will provide the legal space for IP instruments to get commercial recognition.
The Liberian Commerce Minister stresses that no creator in Africa must be requested to provide collateral of tangible assets before acquiring loans at their own African banks.
"Let create the incentive for our young brothers and sisters to stop the willing migration to slavery back to where our parents fought for freedom," Minister Tarpeh continues.
He urges member states to act in the interest of IP now and provide the needed local resource mobilization.
Prof. Tarpeh suggests that IP is the only economic and financial issue that has not been affected by the price of international trade or global market.
"We must use it to our advantage as a major source of revenue for central government, and put more investment and faith in the process," he concludes.
Also speaker at the occasion, ARIPO Director General Mr. Fernando Dos Santos says Africa is still lacking behind in the use of intellectual property.
Dos Santos reveals that over the past 40 years, ARIPO has led efforts in Africa to expand intellectual property protection.
"As a partnership of governments, ARIPO finds solid ground to continually lay the foundation for higher levels of IP rights protection in Africa for global business," he explains.
Meanwhile the incoming Chairperson of ARIPO, and Director General of Liberia Intellectual Property Atty. P. Adelyn Cooper says Liberia accepts the preferment to serve as chair of this august body for the next two years with humility and deep sense of reflection on the enormous task of ARIPO history.
Atty. Cooper reminds her colleagues that the objective of the Lusaka Agreement and its revised version is to pull together scared resources of member states for the promotion of human development in ARIPO member states by using the tools of intellectual property.
The 43rd Session of ARIPO will see Liberia take over as Chair of the Session, and the Ministerial Council that will steer the affairs of the organization for the next two years.
Participants of the meeting came from 19 member state countries. They are expected to deliberate on issues surrounding the improvement of the organization for the next five days here in Liberia.The meeting is graced by observers from ARIPO, and Cooperative Partners including the World Intellectual Property (WIPO), among others.By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Winston W. Parley