The 44th Session of the Administrative Council of The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) began on the 16th of November 2020 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Opening the Session, the Director General of ARIPO Mr. Fernando dos SANTOS said the Session is being held in a hybrid format due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and ARIPO has demonstrated its resilience thanks to modern technology by keeping its office moving. The Session is also remarkable as it marks the end of his tenue as Director General of ARIPO.
ARIPO Director General highlighted some achievements made during his tenue of office such as the steady growth in the number of applications, the inauguration of the new state of the art building, to name a few.
Taking the floor, the Director General of OAPI Mr. Denis BOHOUSSOU saluted the quality of cooperation between OAPI and ARIPO which will serve as a model of integration in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area. In this context, the role of intellectual property offices will be particularly decisive on issues of the free movement of goods.
He solemnly paid a well-deserved tribute to Mr. dos SANTOS for his initiatives taken and reforms carried out to raise ARIPO to its current level of development, emphasizing that his skills and the rich experience that he has capitalized during his two mandates will always be useful to the IP system in Africa.
The solemn moment also gave Mr. BOHOUSSOU the opportunity to extend his warm and hearty congratulations to his successor, adding that OAPI is ready to keep and upgrade with him, the precious cooperation built over decades. He remains convinced that the close and fruitful cooperation will contribute to the economic and technological development of the Member States of the two Organizations in particular, and of Africa in general.
The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Mr. Daniel Daren TANG during his address said the WIPO-ARIPO-OAPI (WAO) Agreement signed in 2018 consolidates the partnership in the three Organizations. He paid tribute to Mr. dos SANTOS for his distinguished and dedicated services to ARIPO.
Other speakers included the Chair of the Administrative Council of ARIPO, EPO President, the Executive Director of EUIPO, the Commissioner of JPO, the acting CEO of CIPO, INTA, CNIPA, USPTO, IPOS and AFSTA.
The Guest of Honour, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe, acknowledged the accession of Mauritius as the 20th member State of ARIPO, and declared officially opened the 44th session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO.