The fourth meeting of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) sub-group of the ad hoc working group on geographical indications (GIs) took place on 15 March 2023. Representatives from six ARIPO Member States namely Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia (Chairing) participated in the successful virtual session.

The ARIPO Ad Hoc Sub-Working Group on GIs being supported by Africa Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation (AfrIPI) to develop institutional & legal frameworks on Geographical Indications in line with international best practices set to benefit the ARIPO Member States & the African continent at large.

Director General Bemanya Twebaze shared opening remarks and updated the attendees on the developments regarding GIs for ARIPO Member States. In his update, DG Bemanya informed members that “The French agricultural research and cooperation organization CIRAD and the French Development Agency AFD have launched a fund to support Geographical Indications in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific countries. Currently, eight ARIPO Member States are supported by these partners on GIs, namely, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. Zimbabwe has also submitted a concept note to be financed for the protection and promotion of GIs.”

The consideration of environmental, social and economic events was raised as topical in the formulation of the needs assessment questionnaire which is part of the ad hoc sub-groups mandate.

The participants finalised the consolidated questionnaire’s format and recommended its dissemination to the ARIPO Member States. A follow-up engagement is expected to ensue in May 2023.