Liberia: President Weah to Open Aripo's 17th Council of Ministers Meeting

-as Liberia set to chair the council for the next two years

President George Weah will on Thursday November 21, 2019 open the Seventeenth Session of the Council of Ministers of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) at the Farmington Hotel in Margibi County.

According to a press release from the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO), the Council of Ministers is the supreme body of ARIPO, responsible for defining, orienting and stewarding the policies of the organization. The Council is constituted by ministers of Member States and meets at least once every two years.

"We are grateful to the Republic of Liberia in not only hosting the Council of Ministers but in hosting the Forty-Third Session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO. This shows the commitment of Liberia to the importance of Intellectual Property and its role in the development of the Country and Africa as a whole. It is also recognition of the role of ARIPO as a driver of the development of the Intellectual Property system in its Member States and in Africa in general," says ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos.

The release added, the Session of the Council of Ministers takes place at a time when most African countries are becoming aware of the importance of Intellectual Property as a powerful tool for economic growth.

Currently, the release further said many countries are formulating and reviewing their Intellectual Property policies in an effort to nurture and anchor IP systems in fostering innovation and value addition to African products and services.

Meanwhile, Liberia's Minister for Commerce and Industry, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, as Chair of the Board of Directors of LIPO, will be the principal host of the Liberia meeting. He is also expected to assume the Chairmanship of the ARIPO Council of Ministers for the next two years.

ARIPO is an intergovernmental organization. It was created in Lusaka, Zambia on 9th December 1976 under the Lusaka Agreement.

ARIPO protects Africa's intellectual property rights through patents, trademarks, copyrights, utility models, industrial designs, plant varieties, traditional knowledge and expression of folklore and geographical indications. ARIPO also contributes to shaping of the African and global intellectual property landscape.

ARIPO has four principal organs which are; the Council of Ministers, the Administrative Council, the Board of Appeal and the Secretariat. The Council of Ministers consists of those Government Ministers of the ARIPO member states who are responsible for the administration of intellectual property in their countries and meets every two years.

The Administrative Council is subordinate to the Council of Ministers. It consists of technocrats, namely the Heads of those offices from member states of the Organization, which administer intellectual property. The Administrative Council has subsidiary Committees in place to administer the affairs of ARIPO. These are; Finance, Audit, Staff Affairs and Technical Committees.

The Administrative Council comprises heads of offices entrusted with dealing with intellectual property matters of the ARIPO member states and meets at least once a year in an ordinary session.

The Annual Meetings are intended to discuss the administrative aspects of the Organization including the proposed budget and program of activities for the following year. It also looks at any recommendations from the subsidiary committees and amends the ARIPO treaties to continually keep them in line with international trends.

The ARIPO Member States are; Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the 43rd Session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO came to a close on Wednesday November 20, 2019 at the Farmington in Margibi County.

Liberia also took charge of the Chairmanship of the Administrative Council with the Director General of LIPO, Atty. P. Adelyn Cooper, expected to lead the body for the next two years.

The 43rd Session of the Administrative Council of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization meeting was held from Monday, November 18 to Wednesday, November 20, 2019, with over 100 delegates from ARIPO member states in attendance.

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