Bemanya Twebaze is the Director General of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). He was elected to this position on November 17, 2020, during the Forty-Fourth Session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO. He officially assumed office on January 1, 2021.
Before taking up the role of Director General, Mr. Bemanya served as the Registrar General of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB). During his tenure at URSB, he played a crucial role in managing Intellectual Property Rights Registrations, Business Registrations, Civil Registrations, Insolvency, and Corporate Rescue matters. He held this position from 2012 to 2020, demonstrating his extensive experience in legal and management domains, spanning over 28 years. Within Uganda, Mr. Bemanya has served as a Board Member of various institutions.
Mr. Bemanya is a lawyer by profession and holds an Honors Degree in Law from Makerere University. He also completed an Executive MBA from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI) and obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre. Furthermore, he pursued professional development at the Harvard Kennedy School, USA, earning an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership.
Director General Bemanya has held several prestigious positions in intellectual property governance and administration. He has served as Chairman of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) and the Administrative Council of ARIPO. Additionally, he presided over the Paris Union Assembly, the International Union for the Protection of Industrial Property and was a Member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) IP Office of the Future Think Tank.
In December 2021, Managing IP, a UK-based magazine, recognized Mr. Bemanya's significant contributions to intellectual property law and practice by naming him among the 50 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property.
With his extensive legal and management expertise, Mr. Bemanya Twebaze is a respected leader in the field of intellectual property. He prioritizes the impactful advancement and protection of intellectual property rights in Africa.
As Director General, Mr. Bemanya is committed to transforming ARIPO into the preferred choice for intellectual property matters. Through the four pillars of the ARIPO Strategic Plan 2022-2026, which are: Strengthened and Harmonized Legal Framework; Growth Strategy and Sustainability; Intellectual Property Promotion; and Human Capital Development, he aims to spearhead intellectual property reforms that will accelerate development impact and position ARIPO at the centre of Africa’s socio-economic transformation.
Acting Director, Intellectual Property and Head, Search and Substantive Examination
Profile of Ms. Flora Kokwihyukya Mpanju
Ms. Flora Kokwihyukya Mpanju, a national of the United Republic of Tanzania joined ARIPO on 1 June 2003 as a Patent Examiner and rose through the ranks to her current position. She is responsible for leading the ARIPO team of Patent Examiners in the efficient and effective delivery of IP rights whilst ensuring the compliance of applications with relevant legal requirements.
Ms Mpanju is a professionally trained Patent Examiner, and Trainer, having successfully completed the Regional Patent Examination Program conducted by IP Australia and has been a part-time Lecturer for 7 years on the Master of Intellectual Property degree at Africa University. She is professionally trained on Plant Variety Protection complete course offered by WIPO and USPTO. She also participated fully in creating awareness, sensation, and drafting the Arusha Protocol and Access and Benefit Sharing guidelines.
Prior to joining ARIPO, Ms Mpanju worked for the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corporation for 19 years as a Senior Petroleum Geochemist/Petrologist in the Oil Exploration Department as a researcher in oil and gas. She worked with and did research in different laboratories of the World i.e University of Oklahoma (US), Trondheim – Norway, university of Melbolne- Australia, PetroBras – Brazil, Aahean – German, TEXACO- US, STATOIL – Norway. BP Shell- Netherland, University of Calgary- Canada among others and published papers on oil and gas potential of Tanzaniaand the East African coast
Ms Mpanju holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from Nottingham Trent University, A Master of Science degree in Organic Chemistry and Organic Petrology from the University of New Castle Upon Tyne (UK) and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Chemistry and Botany from the University of Dar es Salam (Tanzania). She is currently reading for a PhD in Intellectual Property Policies and Technology transfer in universities with the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Acting Director Business Transformation & Development and Head, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
Profile of Mr. Grey Peter Njowola
Mr. Grey PeterNjowola, a national of the Republic of Zimbabwe, joined ARIPO in June 2015. He is responsible for formulating and implementing the ICT Strategy and managing the ICT work program.
A Certified Information Systems Auditor, Mr. Njowola has over 15 years of ICT experience, having worked for organizations and companies in various sectors, including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Local Authorities Pension Fund of Zimbabwe (LAPF).
Mr. Njowola holds a Master of Business Administration from the Copper Belt University in Zambia, a BSc Degree in Computer Science and Statistics, a Diploma in Web Designing and E-Commerce and a Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators Part A Certificate.
Acting Director Legal Affairs & International Cooperation and Head, Legal and International Cooperation
Profile of Mr. Pierre Claver Runiga
Mr. Pierre Claver Runiga joined ARIPO on 1 June 2015.He is responsible for leading the formulation and implementation of the Policy, Legal and International Cooperation Strategy and manage the work program; provide legal advice and assistance to the Director General, the Governing bodies of ARIPO and to the Secretariat on administrative, contractual, and general legal matters and in respect of the depositary functions of the ARIPO-administered treaties.
Mr. Runiga has over 12 years’ legal services experience having served the Government of the Republic of Rwanda as Legal Advisory Services Division Manager and Principal State Attorney in Legislative Drafting and Translation Department within the Office of the Attorney General for 7 years. He has also served as the focal person of the Office of the Attorney General for the Negotiation of Bilateral Investment Treaties and the Northern Corridor Integration Projects within the East African Community. Mr. Runiga has also been the Advisor to the Deputy Chief Justice of Rwanda for 3 years, and Legal Officer for 2 years in the Commission that was in charge of drafting the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 2003. He was recently appointed by the President of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to serve on the Organization’s Standing Committee for Legal Affairs for a 3 year term starting from January 1, 2017.
Mr. Runiga holds a Master of Laws degree in International Business and Commercial Law from Liverpool John Moores University (UK), Post Graduate Diploma in Cultural Heritage Management from Senghor University (Egypt) and a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Rwanda.
Acting Director Finance, and Head Finance and Planning
Profile of Mr. Ben Mulenga
Mr. Ben Mulenga, a national of the Republic of Zambia, joined ARIPO in February 2022. He is responsible for managing the finances of ARIPO and for providing financial insights to support exploitation of business growth opportunities and financial sustainability. He is also responsible for financial analysis, forecasting, and financial reporting to support operational and strategic decision making.
Mr. Mulenga is a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) with over seventeen (17) years financial management experience in both the public and private sector, having previously worked as Chief Financial Officer at the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) in Zambia. He served as an ex-officio member of the Board, and Committees of the Board (Audit and Risk, Finance and Projects and Administration and Operations) of PACRA from 2019 to 2021. Mr. Mulenga also served on the Board of Trustees for the Integrated Reporting Committee of Zambia from 2019 to 2021.
He holds a Master of Commerce Degree in Development Finance from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and CIMA professional qualification from the United Kingdom. He is also a fellow of the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Mr. Letu Mathew Shilongo, a national of the Republic of Namibia, joined ARIPO on 1 January 2011. He is responsible for the independent examination and evaluation of ARIPO’s control and business systems and processes to ensure strengthened accountability, stewardship and corporate governance.
Mr. Shilongo has over 20 years’ experience in the finance and auditing fields, drawn from various capacities in different companies and organizations namely; Senior Finance Analyst and Business Intelligence Financial Analyst at AXA Insurance United Kingdom, Accountant/Audit Clerk at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Finance Manager at Trustco Finance, Financial Accountant/Manager Financial Accounting at Namibia Wildlife Resorts as well as Senior Management and Cost Accountant/General Ledger at Roads Constructor Company.
Mr. Shilongo holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Maastricht School of Management, Netherlands and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Namibia. A member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).
Dr. Graham Mhlakaza is a Chartered Human Resources Practitioner with extensive experience spanning over 17 years in the international civil service and commercial roles. As ARIPO’s Head Human Capital, he is accountable for orchestrating projects focusing on strategic and operational alignment of talent acquisition, organisational design, workforce capability, diversity, engagement, performance, wellness, and organizational culture supported by data-driven
approaches to Human Capital Management. Graham holds a PhD in Commerce and Administration from Cranefield College, South Africa, an Executive MBA and BSc
Honours Human Resource Management degrees from Midlands State University, Zimbabwe, as well as various professional certifications in Leadership, Human Resources and Project Management. In addition, Graham is a fellow of the following institutes: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (UK), Australian Human Resources Institute, International Institute of Directors and Managers, and the Institute of People Management of Zimbabwe. Prior to joining ARIPO in May 2014, Graham was the Group Human Resources Officer for Amtec (Private) Limited and served on its Executive Committee.
Ms. Maureen Fondo, a national of the United Republic of Tanzania joined ARIPO on 1 June 2015. Her current responsibilities include implementing the ARIPO Copyright and Related Rights mandate and Strategic Plan to shaping the IP landscape in Africa.
Ms. Fondo has over 15 years’ legal and copyright experience having spent two (2) years as a Senior Legal Officer heading the Legal Service Unit at the Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA). She previously served as a Legal Officer at COSOTA for six (6) years. She volunteered as a Legal Officer at the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Arusha Legal Aid Clinic for three (3) years. She has also worked as a part-time Lecturer in Business Law at the Institute of Accountancy in Arusha, Tanzania. Currently, she is a part time Lecturer for the Master’s degree in Intellectual Property (MIP) offered by Africa University, Zimbabwe in partnership with ARIPO and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). She collected data for WIPO Report titled “The Economic Contribution of Copyright Based Industries in Tanzania”. She has contributed to various copyright publications and policy documents at ARIPO that have been adopted by the ARIPO Member States. She is an artist, a composer of not less than thirteen titles and has recorded two gospel albums titled “Shika Ulichonacho” and “Moyo wa Shukrani” with one song commemorating the World IP Day theme – Get up, Stand Up for Music titled “Sherekea”, another song titled “Celebrate” commemorating ARIPO at forty, and she has written one movie script titled “Dream is alive – Ndoto hai” and children’s story script titled “Creativity lives”. She was the MIP President 5th Cohort at Africa University and was awarded the WIPO-ARIPO Best Graduating Student who has demonstrated Leadership potential in MIP. She was the Vice President at Tumaini University and was awarded the Leadership medal.
Ms. Fondo holds Master degree in Intellectual Property from Africa University, a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law School of Tanzania, an Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and Subordinate Courts, Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths, a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Tumaini University, Tanzania, Diploma in French from Alliance Francaise, Zimbabwe, Executive Certificate in Diplomacy, Protocol, Etiquette and Professional Branding and Diplomatic Writing and Presentation Skills from Zimbabwe Institute of Diplomacy, Certificate in Project Management from Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe, Certificate in Women as Leaders from Gordon Institute of Business Science, Certificates in many WIPO Academy courses on Intellectual Property, Certificate on Exploring Copyright, History, Culture, Industry from CISAC University at Future Learn. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at Africa University, Zimbabwe.
Dr. Outule Rapuleng joined ARIPO in June 2017 as the Head of the ARIPO Academy. He is responsible for intellectual property human resource development and capacity building. Prior to joining ARIPO, he was Senior Partner at Adsense Consulting (IP Consulting & Training) in Botswana. He served as Acting Assistant Director - Commercialization with the Office of Research and Development at the University and as an IT Analyst (Assistive Technology) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Botswana, coupled with part-time teaching. He worked at the Coca-Cola Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as IT Helpdesk Analyst.
Dr. Rapuleng holds a Ph.D. (Intellectual Property and Traditional Knowledge) from Northwest University in South Africa. He also holds a Masters in IP from Africa University in Zimbabwe, a BSc in Information Systems from Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA, and a Diploma in Science Education (Biology and Physics) from the University of Botswana. He is a recipient of Executive IP Management training from WIPO as well as Innovation Policy
training from the World Bank.
He has also served as a Committee Member of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) through an appointment by the Minister, in the Research, Innovation, Science & Technology (RIST) committee. The committee
is responsible for bridging the skills mismatch in Botswana, matching the supply of graduates with national needs and priorities.
Mr. Charles Pundojoined ARIPO on 3 June 1986 as a Documentation Assistant and rose through the ranks to his current position. He has over 30 years of experience in the Intellectual Property (IP) rights management field and is responsible for reviewing all IP rights applications to determine their compliance with all relevant formalities to facilitate search and substantive examination and the granting of legal protection.
Mr. Pundo holds a Master of Intellectual Property degree from Africa University, a BA degree in English and Communication from the Zimbabwe Open University, a National Diploma in Business Studies as well as a National Certificate in Library and Information Science from the Harare Polytechnic, a Diploma in Computer Systems and Design as well as a Diploma in Computer Programming from the Association of Computer Professionals (UK).
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