A three-day workshop was held in Yaounde to equip stakeholders from member states of the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) with valuable methods and tools for identifying, recognizing, controlling, and defending Geographical Indications (GI). The intellectual property organization in a member nation uses a geographical indicator to register valuable products.
In an effort to increase the significance of GI registration, the Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in Africa Project (AfrIPI), in partnership with OAPI, the French Development Agency (AFD), and the Support Project for the Implementation of Geographical Indications in the OAPI Member States (Phase II (PAMPIG 2), organized the workshop.
During the opening ceremony on October 25, various dignitaries emphasized the economic, social, and environmental benefits of GI registration.
Aida Galindo, the Project Leader of AfrIPI, highlighted their support for continental strategies on GI in Africa and their collaboration with OAPI since 2020. Galindo also emphasized the importance of GI registration for rural communities and consumers, ensuring product quality and territorial authenticity through the GI logo.
Denis Loukou, Director General of OAPI, highlighted the importance of the workshop in reinforcing national committees responsible for GIs, as these play a crucial role in product identification and document compilation before submission to OAPI.
The European Union Ambassador to Cameroon, Jean-Marc Chataigner acknowledged the increasing importance of geographical indicators as catalysts for economic growth, particularly in rural areas. As a result of OAPI’s determination to support regional goods and handicrafts, the dynamics of GI registrations have increased. Notably, the first GI from OAPI to be registered in the EU has been identified, and approximately ten additional products are presently undergoing recognition.
A new strategy for geographical indicators has been confirmed with the adoption of the OAPI Strategic Plan for 2022–2027. This strategy concentrates on the registration, consolidation, promotion, and sustainability of both current and prospective GIs. This approach also includes technical supervision, consolidation of recognition initiatives, and monitoring of groups representing various PGIs and collective marks.
All things considered, the workshop helped provide interested parties with the information and resources they need to fully utilize spatial indicators to promote economic growth and development in OAPI member nations.
By Jacqueline Nyingchia (Corporate Communication Student on Internship)