The WIPO-ARIPO Regional Meeting on Developing the Regional Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISCs) Network commenced yesterday, 23 February 2023 at the ARIPO Secretariat in Harare, and will conclude today, 24 February 2023.

The two-day TISC Network meeting was jointly organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and ARIPO with support from the Japan Patent Office (JPO) through the Japan Funds in Trust held by WIPO for IP development.

The programme is set to enable open discussions on the current status of TISC networks in the ARIPO Member States, highlighting the actions taken by these TISC networks in the promotion and awareness of TISC services and apprise participants of the recent developments in WIPO activities and resources related to TISCs.

During the official opening ceremony, Director General Bemanya Twebaze addressed the participants together with Mr. Andrew Czajkowski, Director of Technology and Innovation Support Division from WIPO and Mr. Hiroyuki Kumagai, the Deputy Head of Mission for the Embassy of Japan in Zimbabwe.

In his remarks, DG Bemanya Twebaze expressed confidence in the optimization of TISC networks as a factor which will contribute to the turnaround in the “lacklustre” performance of African global intellectual property (IP) filing statistics, with reference to the 2021 WIPO report. He emphasized the need for support to local innovators as crucial in the improvement of these statistics, highlighting that TISCs will allow them to exploit their innovative potential and take control of their intellectual property rights.

The ARIPO DG encouraged the participants to take this opportunity to discuss further how to fully exploit the TISC network for access to information and effective use thereof to promote research that will address real-world challenges such as food security, public health, climate change, youth employment, and poverty amongst many others.

Addressing the participants on behalf of the JPO, Mr. Hiroyuki Kumagai commended ARIPO and WIPO for honouring the existing partnership and utilizing the Japan Funds in Trust for the development of IP across the African continent. He further encouraged the participants to fully utilize the technological resources available to advance the status of IP in Africa.

Mr. Andrew Czajkowski unpacked the many resources that WIPO has made available to support innovators and researchers in developing countries, which include libraries and other online resources.

WIPO supports the operation of TISCs by facilitating access to patent databases and other scientific and technological resources, training local users through on-site and distance learning as well as disseminating best practices and experiences among TISCs.

Technology & innovation experts presenting at the event include Mr. Ituku Elangi Botoy- Industrial Property Information Officer, WIPO TISC Development Section; Dr Mafini Dosso – Economist of Innovation; Mr. Grey Njowola – Head of Information Communication Technology for ARIPO and Mr. Andrew Czajkowski.