Malawi hosts 41st meeting for African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation

Solicitor General Janet Banda has said geographical indication (GI) is important in adding value to agricultural products.

Delegates to the Forty First Session of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) held at BICC in Lilongwe, Malawi.-Photo by Abel Ikiloni, Mana

Forty First Session of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) held at BICC in Lilongwe, Malawi.-Photo by Abel Ikiloni, Mana

Banda: We need to identify products.-Photo by Abel Ikiloni, Mana

The solicitor general made the remarks when she presided over the official opening of the 41st Session of the Administrative Council of African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) member States meeting at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe on Monday.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) defines GIs as indications that identify goods originating in the territory of a region or locality in that territory

Banda said she was aware that Malawi’ economy is agro-based, necessitating the country to develop laws that protect Malawi GIs to support the development of reputable agricultural product brands.

“As Aripo members, we need to identify products and develop practical steps to protect these products through GIs and have realistic deliverables. It is my belief that the administrative council will work towards achieving this goal,” said Banda.

According to Banda, government believes in fostering the conditions of Malawi’s creators to thrive, support and improve the country’s economic output.

Aripo director general Fernando dos Santos said broadcasting industry is the major user of creative content in Africa, yet only 40 percent are licensed.

“It has been our greatest hope to see the creative industry flourish; collections for different sectors have improved though there is still room for improvement,” said dos Santos.

Aripo has been holding national roving seminars for academic institutions in its 19 member States in pursuit of its strategic plan of using intellectual property to raise economic growth in Africa.

The 41st session of Aripo’s Administrative Council will run for three days starting from Monday this week.

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