In a significant high-level mission to Banjul, the Director General, Mr. Bemanya Twebaze, had a diplomatic engagement with the President of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow, marking a historic moment of appreciation and collaboration. The Gambia, a founding member of ARIPO since 1976, has been instrumental in supporting the organization's mission and growth. The ARIPO legal instrument, named after Banjul, The Gambia's capital, is a testament to the country's contribution to the realm of intellectual property and its impact on national development.

The Director General commended the President and the Government of The Gambia for their proactive approach in adopting an Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy, as well as implementing legislative measures aimed at strengthening the protection and enforcement of intellectual property within the country. This strategic focus on intellectual property rights is crucial for fostering innovation, creativity, and economic growth.

The Gambia, known for its vibrant culture and dynamic population, has been thriving on multiple fronts. The nation has made significant strides towards economic revitalization, with innovation and creativity at the forefront of this progress, fostering economic diversification and growth. The protection of intellectual property in The Gambia has had tangible benefits, with the country experiencing growth in export revenues due to preserving and promoting its cultural assets. By recognizing and safeguarding indigenous crafts and music, The Gambia has been able to tap into new markets and enhance its economic prospects on a global scale.

Director General Bemanya Twebaze discussed with His Excellency President Barrow multiple examples of how the country could further its growth through IP. For example, The Gambia Tourist Board's initiative to register the country's brand, "The Gambia, the smiling coast of Africa," stands out as a strategic move to enhance tourism, which constitutes approximately 20% of the nation's GDP according to World Bank Statistics. This effort exemplifies the significant role of Intellectual Property in promoting a country's image and increasing revenue.

The recent fiscal year has witnessed The Gambia's commendable economic performance, with a reported GDP growth rate of 5.6% in the last quarter of 2023. This figure, confirmed by Trading Economics, the World Bank, and the IMF, signals a robust recovery from the global economic downturn. The creative and innovative sectors have notably contributed to this growth, underscoring their importance in the national economy.

The President and the Director General of ARIPO also discussed various aspects of intellectual property rights and their role in promoting intra-African trade within the context of the AfCFTA. DG Twebaze reiterated ARIPO’s commitment to contributing to this process, citing the importance of policy coordination and how, through “supporting existing regional organizations like ARIPO, Africa can effectively leverage its rich human and natural resources for socio-economic development through enhanced trade opportunities.”

The visit by the Director General underscores the importance of a robust intellectual property framework that not only safeguards the rights of creators and inventors but also contributes to the economic and cultural prosperity of nations like The Gambia.