322. The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) as an Intergovernmental Organization, currently with 19 Members across Africa, was established with the purpose of pooling together resources of its Members for the promotion, development and harmonization of Intellectual Property laws and policies for the social, economic and technological development of its Members.
323. In pursuance of its mandate, ARIPO, in some cases in collaboration with its cooperating partners, undertook activities which mainly focused on IP awareness raising and capacity building.
324. On IP awareness, ARIPO continued its initiative which commenced in 2017 of engaging Universities and Research Institutions as the main generators of Intellectual Property. Six seminars were conducted with selected Universities and Research Institutions in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique, where a total of 534 participants attended. The seminars were organized on the theme "Fostering Creativity and Innovation for Economic Growth and Development in Africa". The seminars were intended to enhance intellectual property awareness in Academic and Research Institutions with a view to promoting the creation, protection and utilization of research results using intellectual property tools for the economic and technological development of our Members.
325. On capacity building, ARIPO provided ten scholarships to students to pursue the Masters Programme in Intellectual Property that is jointly offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), ARIPO and Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Japan Patent Office. The programme has so far produced 296 graduates from 26 countries across Africa since its inception in 2008.
326. It is also worthy highlighting that ARIPO in collaboration with the Ghana IP Office partnered with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Kumasi, Ghana and launched another Masters Programme in IP on 28 August 2018 where ARIPO has sponsored 12 students.
327. In conclusion, allow me to present highlights of other capacity building and IP awareness activities undertaken by ARIPO. In June 2018, ARIPO and WIPO jointly organized a Symposium on Copyright and Related Rights at ARIPO Headquarters in Harare on the theme: "Shaping the Copyright and Related Rights System in Africa". The Symposium brought together participants from Copyright Offices and Collective Management Organizations from 18 ARIPO Members to discuss critical copyright issues affecting Africa and explore ways to address copyright in the digital environment for the benefit of right holders, users and other stakeholders. The Symposium also sought to promote efficiencies in the administration and management of the copyright offices and collective management organizations.
328. In July 2018, ARIPO, WIPO and the Japan Patent Office jointly organised a Regional Training of Trainers Workshop on Teaching of IP in Police Colleges of the ARIPO Members at the ARIPO HQs in Harare to build capacity of law enforcement officers to prosecute IP infringement.
329. In August 2018, ARIPO in collaboration with WIPO, organized a Regional Seminar on the Implementation and Use of Patent-Related Flexibilities, at the ARIPO Headquarters in Harare, to enhance the knowledge of available patent-related flexibilities and to develop skills in the optimal use and implementation of the flexibilities for the benefit of ARIPO Members.
330. In August again, ARIPO, WIPO and the Japan Patent Office jointly organized a sub-regional meeting on the development of a sub-regional Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) Network, ARIPO Headquarters, Harare. The meeting agreed to establish a Regional TISC at ARIPO in order to share best practices in effectively using technology found in patent databases and science and technology journal databases.
331. In September, WIPO, ARIPO and Japan Patent Office organized a Patent Drafting Course at the ARIPO Headquarters in Harare, to enhance the capacity and skills of targeted participants in ARIPO Members and Observer States in drafting patent applications.
332. In promoting IP awareness and dissemination of research results, ARIPO and the Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe jointly launched the African Journal of Intellectual Property (AJIP) which is published twice a year.
333. ARIPO in partnership with Africa University and with financial support from JPO has published an IP Textbook titled "Intellectual Property Law, Practice and Management: Perspectives from Africa". The book is mainly intended for students pursuing the Masters in IP.
334. On 10 September 2018, ARIPO launched its Regional Intellectual Property Database, that was developed with the support of WIPO, to efficiently serve multiple purposes, including online provision of published IP data, encouragement of regional trade and IP scientific research. The database has currently more than 400,000 IP titles from ARIPO Office and 12 Members.