WIPO Director General Visits Egypt, Meets Top Government Officials

March 17, 2019

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry met Egyptian Cabinet ministers for discussions including innovation, public health and artificial intelligence during a March 16-17, 2019 visit in Aswan, Egypt and participated at an event alongside President Abdel Fatah El Sisi who assumed Chairmanship at the Summit level of the African Union.

(Photo: Arab and African Youth Forum)

The March 16 event marking the launch of Egypt’s Chairmanship of the AU was opened by President El Sisi, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Fakih, and Mr. Ahmed Ahmed, President of the Confédération Africaine du Football, which will host the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt in June and July 2019.

On March 17, the Director General participated in the opening of the first edition of the Arab and African Youth Forum, held in Aswan under the auspices of President El Sisi and organized by the Presidential Leadership Program.

During the Forum, the Director General took part in a panel on the Future of Scientific Research and Health Care, alongside Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, the Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, Dr. Hala Zaid and other national, regional and international experts from the health and innovation sectors.

Panelists examined the possibilities of scientific research in health care in the African and Arab region. These included the transfer of technology, the formulation of transfer of technology policies and the role of research and development in finding innovative solutions. It also addressed how to bridge the gap between the academic side of scientific research and the needs of local and global markets, the future of scientific research in Arab and African countries and the possibilities of empowering young researchers in these countries.

The Session was attended by President El Sisi, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sameh Shoukry, among other members of the Egyptian Government, a number of Arab and African high level officials and youth representatives

During his visit, the Director General held bilateral meetings with key Cabinet Ministers in charge of IP matters.

The meeting with the Minister of Health touched upon the importance of forging dialogue and partnerships with the private sector to address public health concerns. The Minister shared the experience of Egypt in combating Hepatitis C through the "100 million Healthy Lives" campaign for detecting Hepatitis C and non-communicable diseases - launched in October 2018. The Minister also shared open innovation solutions developed by the Ministry that are available to share with interested health authorities in developing countries.

Discussions with the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research touched upon the impact of new technologies on development including artificial intelligence and WIPO's engagement on the subject. The Minister expressed appreciation for WIPO's continued cooperation for the promotion of research and development infrastructure. He referred to the Egyptian Knowledge Bank (EKB) and expressed interest in linking the EKB with WIPO's IP knowledge platforms as a resource portal for researchers and innovators in the Arab and African region.

The meeting with the Minister of Culture, Dr. Inas Abdel Dayem, focused on opportunities for furthering bilateral cooperation in the management of copyright and related rights, including the opportunity of supporting the Ministry's efforts in the digitization of cultural works. Discussions also covered the advantages of legal solutions offered by the international copyright regime for the protection and management of authors and performers rights as well as the opportunity of making available to the ABC Global Book Service public collections of books in accessible formats for visually impaired persons.

The Director General also met the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, opening avenues for future cooperation between WIPO and the AU Commission. He also met the President of the Confédération Africaine du Football and raised the importance of IP for the sports industry.