The International Trademark Association (INTA) has called for improved protection of intellectual property in Africa and the Middle East.
It also wants governments in the regions to see the nexus between the protection of intellectual property and economic growth.
The Africa and Middle East representatives of the INTA, Tat-Tienne Louembe, made the call during a recent working visit to Ethiopia.
Mr Louembe held bilateral and multilateral discussions with Ethiopian Minister of Science and Technology, Getahun Merkuria Kuma, and the African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga.
During the meeting with Getahun, the INTA Representative expressed strong interest in strengthening the intellectual property ecosystem as a way to encourage the government’s tremendous efforts in pursuing economic growth.
Louembe showcased key activities such as legislative reviews, workshops and trainings undertaken by the INTA in various countries.
The Minister welcomed a partnership with the INTA and emphasized the need to build local expertise.
At the African Union Headquarters, discussions with Commissioner Muchanga revolved around current initiatives such as the Continental Free Trade Agreement expected to be signed later this month in Kigali, Rwanda.
The main objectives of the CFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.
It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general.
On the margins of these high-level meetings, the INTA Representative had discussions with the Ethiopian Minister of Industry, Ahmed Abtew, as well as officials at the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA).
In Addis Ababa, he also toured the offices of Wossen Teshome Bokan, an INTA member and strong trademark advocate.