May 5, 2017, 10:06 AM
The training, which brought senior members of the board and is being funded by WIPO, is taking place at the Ministry of Tourism Conference room in Banjul.
Delivering her official opening statement, Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, Minister of Tourism and Culture, said she has a particular interest in the activities and welfare of the Board not only because copyright falls under her ministry, but because the Ministry working with the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has been very much involved in the preparations that led to the congress of stakeholders that led to the election of the Board in May 2013.
The Tourism Minister said that in many countries the formation of collecting societies is strictly the business of artists and creators associations and not government.
She added that government’s role rest basically on creating the legislative framework and establishing a copyright office.
“My Ministry was able to accomplish both these obligations. Copyright Act was enacted in 2004, and the NCAC was able to create a copyright directorate in 2008,”she said.
Madam Jobe-Njie added that not much activity had been registered on the side of the artists to form associations as required in the Act in order to realize a collective management organization called Collecting Society of The Gambia.
“My Ministry therefore saw the urgent need to intervene so that artists come together to form associations in order to compose the Board you see here this morning,” she said.
Madam Jobe-Njie told participants that the copyright act is indeed in line with the development aspirations of the Government of The Gambia.
She expressed hope that when the Board becomes functional very soon, it will start to collect royalties and distribute it to its members when our creators will start to enjoy the fruits of their labour with the spin offs of job creation and poverty alleviation.
She thanked the consultant, Mr Rob Hooijer, former director of African Affairs of CISAC, a collecting management body for music, and former head of the South African collecting society, SAMRO, for their support.
She also recognised the presence of Mr John Asein from the Nigeria Copyright Commission, who is in the country on a WIPO mission, for a copyright strategy for The Gambia.
Mr Rob Hooijer, the consultant and former director of African Affairs of CISAC, a collecting management body for music, and former head of South African Collecting Society, thanked the NCAC and the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for this great invitation.
He therefore called on the participants to make good use of the training so it can bring a lot of good for the Gambian people.
Salifu Kujabi and Sheikh Omar Jallow, director of Literature and Performing Arts at the NCAC, both expressed similar sentiments.