Intellectual Property conference to be held in November


Senegal President Macky Sall

AFRICAN heads of state are scheduled to meet at the African Ministerial Conference on Intellectual Property (IP) in Senegal on November 3 where they will highlight the relevance of IP as an engine for promoting creativity, innovation, scientific and technological transformation of African economies.
The three day conference will also be attended by government minister, top officials from the United Nations, African Union and private sector groups.
High profile people expected to attend are Senegal President Macky Sall, Ameenah Gurib Fakim –president for Mauritious. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry and African Union (AU) Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma together with about 60 other government ministers from different countries are expected to attend.
The conference will run under the theme “African Ministerial Conference 2015: Intellectual Property (IP) for an Emerging Africa”. It will be preceded on November 2 by a workshop grouping young African innovators and creators to talk about IP, innovation and creativity.
Commenting about the conference, World International Property Organisation (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry said Africa had a great tradition of innovation and creativity and innovation was a central driver of economic growth, development and better jobs.


“It is the key for firms to compete successfully in the global marketplace. Intellectual property is an indispensable mechanism for translating knowledge into commercial assets – IP rights create a secure environment for investment in innovation and provide a legal framework for trading in intellectual assets,” he said.
The conference is jointly organized by WIPO, the African Union (AU) the government of Senegal and of Japan under the Japan Funds-in-Trust for Africa and Least-Developed Countries (LDCs).


African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, and symbols, names and images used in commerce. It is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.
By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.
There is increasing recognition in the global knowledge-based economy that IP and innovation are two important contributory factors for economic, social and cultural development, better competitiveness of industries as well as enhanced trade.
African nations are embracing the knowledge-based economy in order to access the opportunities it offers for poverty reduction, enhanced agricultural productivity, as well as the prospects for industrial competitively, which could pave the way for sustainable and inclusive development.

The conference aims to highlight the relevance of IP in promoting innovation and scientific and technological transformation of African economies. It will also show how IP can contribute to the realization of the priorities identified in the Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. And it will provide an arena for discussion on the role of IP for innovation and creativity in the continent.

The conference will also:

• Address governments’ role in creating an enabling environment for the use of IP and innovation for development;
• Facilitate a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of the strategic use of the IP system as an engine for scientific and technological transformation, economic and social development and poverty reduction for Africa;
• Encourage governments to put in place IP policies and innovation strategies aimed at building the countries’ capacity to apply science, technology and innovation for development;
• Give participants the tools and the means to keep abreast with the latest trends and business models in the digital environment;
• Explore ways to increase the participation of African countries in the digital economy by encouraging ratification/access to key international copyright treaties;
• Contribute to advancing the implementation of a framework and infrastructure which enhances the business performance and competitiveness of creative industries to support economic, cultural and development objectives.