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COMESA and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will encourage collaboration and promote the Intellectual Property (IP) system as a tool to create a favourable trade and investment climate in the region.

The MoU will facilitate cooperation in the harmonisation of policies, laws and strategies to promote IP development for the benefit of all. Through this collaboration, there will be capacity building and awareness creation on the importance of the use of IP for economic development and promotion of innovation and creativity in the region.

Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya and ARIPO Director General Fernando Antonio dos Santos signed the MoU at a ceremony in Harare, Zimbabwe in December 2016.

The MoU will also help strengthen regional and national IP systems, promote use of IP to enhance business competitiveness of small and medium enterprises and collaborate in protection and exploitation of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.

COMESA has an IP Unit and committee with a programme designed to assist the transformation of the region from a primary good and raw material exporting regional economy into information and knowledge based economy able to beneficially be part of the global economy. The IP programme is also expected to help the bloc to fully harness the rich heritage of IP assets that the COMESA region is endowed with for the region’s socio-economic development.