COMMUNIQUE OF THE 19TH SESSION OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE AFRICAN REGIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION (ARIPO) HELD IN GABORONE, REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, FROM 24 TO 25 NOVEMBER 2023
1. The Council of Ministers of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) held its Nineteenth Session in Gaborone, Botswana, from 24 to 25 November 2023.
2. His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, officially opened the Session. In his speech, President Masisi stressed the importance of Intellectual Property in transforming the economy of Botswana from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, and called upon ARIPO Member States to build ecosystems and structures that fully support creativity and innovation and invest in research and development, especially on the rich traditional knowledge that Africa is endowed with.
3. The Council of Ministers elected new members to serve as Officers for the 2024/2025 biennium as follows:
First Vice-Chairman: The Gambia
Second Vice-Chairman: Ghana
4. The Delegations of Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, The Kingdom of Lesotho, Namibia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, delivered statements commending ARIPO for its contribution to the development of the national and regional Intellectual Property systems and highlighted the efforts that have been made by their respective Governments towards the advancement of the Intellectual Property agenda at national level. The Delegations appreciated the Government of Botswana for hosting the 19th Session of the Council of Ministers, and the warm welcome reserved to all the participants to the meetings.
5. The Council of Ministers considered and took note of the following documents:
(a) The Report of the Director General on the Activities Undertaken in 2022 and 2023 under the Strategic Plan 2022-2026; and
(b) The Report of the Chairperson of the Administrative Council.
6. The Council of Ministers also considered the proposal on the promotion of Intellectual Property activities in Member States. The Council endorsed the recommendation to empower the respective Heads of Intellectual Property Offices with the authority to directly access and administer the respective Member State’s Funds in Trust held with ARIPO to execute activities related to the promotion and development of Intellectual Property at the national level.
7. The Council of Ministers expressed its gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Botswana for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the Nineteenth Session of the Council of Ministers as well as the Forty-Seventh Session of the Administrative Council. The Council particularly expressed appreciation to The President of the Republic of Botswana, His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, for having made time to officiate the opening of the Session, and his passion for Intellectual Property as a tool for economic development of the African Continent.
8. The Council of Ministers also appreciated the cooperating partners of ARIPO for their continued support and participation in the Nineteenth Session of the Council of Ministers.
9. During the Nineteenth Session of the Council of Ministers, the Republic of Ghana deposited its Instrument of Ratification of the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.
10. Eight (8) Ministers and Twelve (12) Accredited Officials participated in the Session of the Council of Ministers. Also present were Observer Member States, Inter-Governmental Organizations, and other Cooperating Partners and IP Agents and Attorneys.
11. The Council endorsed the Delegation of Ghana’s offer to host the Twentieth Session of the Council of Ministers at a date to be communicated in due course.