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Justice Ministry hosts WIPO forum on development of NIPS for Gambia

Aug 14, 2015, 9:44 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Ministry of Justice yesterday hosted the World Intellectual Property multi-stakeholders forum on the development of a National Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy (NIPS) for The Gambia.

The daylong forum, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, was attended by senior counselor of WIPO Regional Bureau for Africa, Mrs Loretta Asiedu, Consultant for Intellectual Property, Trade and Development in Geneva, Dr Susan Isiko STRBA, and the national consultant, Almami Fanding Taal.

The purpose was to look at the needs assessment mission, which was undertaken sometime in 2013, wherein the consultant visited all relevant institutions and came up with a report on the state of play regarding IP protection in The Gambia.

It was also to look at the need for elaboration of the policy and strategy, which is to be undertaken by a WIPO consultant in collaboration with a local consultant.

During the forum, presentation of reports, outcome of focus group and key elements of draft national IP policy and strategy were discussed and comments, recommendations and suggestion were also made by participants to formulate a better national intellectual property policy and strategy for The Gambia.

In declaring the forum open, the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Cherno Marenah, said the forum formed part of the Gambia government’s efforts in collaboration with its development partners, notably the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) through the relevant ministries and departments to encourage the creation, development and protection of Intellectual property as a tool for national development.

Over the past years, he added, a lot of efforts have been made to bring IP matters to the fore through the organisation of seminars and workshops for creators, innovators, end users and government officials.

However, he said, these ad-hoc measures are not enough without an assessment of where they are, where they want to be and how they would get there.

“This is what informed the Needs Assessment Mission fielded by WIPO sometime in 2012 at the request of the Gambia government. The results of this needs assessment mission formed the bedrock of this current mission to forge ahead with an IP Policy and Strategy,” he said.

Addressing a National IP Policy and Strategy requires a multi-pronged approach, he said, adding that such an approach would entail among others the stimulation of creation and the generation of IP rights, strengthening protection of IP rights and the creation of new IP regimes to address the specific needs of the country, he stated.

It was also to establish an efficient, cost effective and service oriented IP administrative infrastructure, institutional capacity building and developing human capital, facilitating commercialization of intellectual property, as well as integrating IP components in national sectoral policies and addressing global IP issues in international fora.

This multi-faceted approach evidently requires the contributions of all stakeholders, including the private sector, he said.

He disclosed that the forum would be facilitated by the consultants who have been hired to lead the process for the formulation of a national intellectual property policy and strategy for The Gambia.

The international and local consultants, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, have for the past few days meeting with stakeholder institutions in preparation for the workshop, he told participants.

He assured the consultants that the Ministry of Justice would not relent in its endeavour to collaborate with all their partners, and in providing the necessary support in pursuing the objective of developing a national intellectual property policy and strategy for The Gambia.