Botswana: Mmusi Kgafela, the Minister of Trade and Industry of Botswana (Africa), officially opened the 47th Session of the Administrative Council of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization earlier yesterday.
The Administrative Council, comprising twenty two (22) Member States of ARIPO aims at deliberating on matters that will ensure that Intellectual Property (IP) rights are protected, respected and utilized to their full potential for the benefit of the region. It also aims to review its performance and provide guidance to the Secretariat to ensure that ARIPO delivers on its mandate to promote IP for Socio-Economic growth and development.
While speaking at the session, Minister Kgafela said Botswana continues to strengthen its IP system and has enacted copyright, neighbouring rights and Property Acts. He said Botswana is in the process of reviewing ITS Laws to curb questions on technology and for the country’s legislation to allow the use of technology to offer IP services.
Kgafela further said that the Government has established a National IP office, which evolved from a Government department to a parastatal being the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) which is capacitated to implement the law by investing resources to develop IP skills.
Minister Kgafela stated that it is encouraging that the session has attracted other players in the IP arena, such as IP agents, cooperating partners from within and outside ARIPO as well as potential member states. He further said this is applaudable as it is evident that ARIPO harnesses partnerships.
Honourable Kgafela also encouraged the Administrative Council to guard ARIPO and its objectives, ensuring that it continues to be a point of reference whenever IP issues are discussed in Africa. He further said the Administrative Council, as overseer of the Secretariat, should take the position of a gatekeeper of good governance and accountability.