10 Years of Japan Funds-in-Trust – Africa and LDCs
February 18, 2019
Two events were recently held in Namibia and Senegal to celebrate the 10th anniversary of WIPO Japan Funds-in-Trust for Africa and LDCs (Japan FIT/IP – Africa and LDCs).
One event took place in Windhoek, Namibia on November 21, 2018, within the context of the Forty–Second Session of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Administrative Council.
Another event took place in Dakar, Senegal on December 11, 2018, within the context of the Ministers’ Meeting in the Fifty–Eighth Session of the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) Administrative Council.
A high-level panel entitled “Intellectual Property, Innovation and Branding: Strengthening Business Competitiveness in Africa” was organized. The Panel was followed by a gala dinner.
The event was officially opened by Hon. Mr. Samuel B. Tembenu, Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs of the Republic of Malawi and Chair of the ARIPO Ministerial Council. Opening remarks were also made by
- Selma Ambunda, Acting CEO of the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) in Namibia,
- Kunihiko Shimano, Deputy Commissioner of the Japan Patent Office (JPO),
- Marc Séry-Koré, Director of Regional Bureau for Africa, WIPO,
- Fernando dos Santos, Director General of ARIPO, and
- Maria Pogisho, Director, Commerce Directorate, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development.
Presentations - Strategic Use of Branding for Business Competitiveness
After the opening ceremony, presentations were given on the topic “Strategic Use of Branding for Business Competitiveness”. Firstly, Mr. Getachew Mengistie, IP consultant, presented on the rationale of branding for Africa, highlighting some branding success stories from the continent. This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Shingo Tsuda, Deputy Director, International Cooperation Division, JPO, on the Taita Basket Branding Project in Kenya.
Panel Discussion - Intellectual Property and Innovation: Strengthening Business Competitiveness in Africa, special focus on SMEs
The panel was composed of:
- Hon. Mr. Tembenu, Ms. Pogisho, Mr. dos Santos,
- Mr. Robanus Amadhila, Member of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Board of Directors,
- Prof. Robson Mafoti, Visiting Professor of MIP program jointly offered by WIPO, ARIPO and Africa University with assistance from the Government of Japan,
- Ms. Joyce Banya, Senior Counsellor, Regional Bureau for Africa, WIPO.
It was moderated by Mr. Akiyoshi Imaura, Director, Regional Cooperation Office, JPO.
After the discussion on the current state and challenges of innovation in Africa, WIPO proposed a new approach to SME-related activities under Japan FIT/IP – Africa and LDCs, which includes organizing seminars for trainers from chambers of commerce and for policy makers, in order to develop human resource capabilities.
On December 11, 2018, a conference entitled “La propriété intellectuelle et l’innovation dans les économies à valeur ajoutée” and a gala dinner were organized.
The conference brought together more than 80 people including participants from universities and research institutions in Senegal and participants of a Japan FIT/IP – Africa and LDCs patent drafting workshop, which was held in parallel in Dakar.
Opening remarks were made by Prof. Mary Teuw Niane, Ministre de l’Enseignement Supérieur, de la Recherche et de l'Innovation du Sénégal, and Mr. Kunihiko Shimano, Deputy Commissioner of the JPO. Following the remarks, Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, gave a lecture on intellectual property and innovation in value-added economies followed by an active question and answer session.
The gala dinner was attended by more than 100 people, including Hon. Moustapha Diop, Minister of Industry and Small and Medium Industry of Senegal. Mr. Denis Bohoussou, Director General of OAPI, and Mr. Makhtar Dia, Director General of l'Agence Sénégalaise pour la Propriété Industrielle et l'Innovation Technologique (ASPIT).