In 2006 an Extraordinary Conference of the African Ministers of Council on Science and Technology meeting in Cairo mooted the idea of establishing a Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO). Since then, nothing much has been publicly discussed about the nature and scope of this organization until the ‘final’ draft for PAIPO statute surfaced recently for adoption by the 5th African Union Ministerial Conference on Science & Technology (AMCOST V) meeting Nov 12 – 16 2012 in Congo (Brazzaville).
The draft statute as it currently stands grants PAIPO significant powers in regulating IP in Africa. However, it also advances a narrow view of IP as an “end in itself” which does not take on board many of the critical public policy objectives in the areas of public health and access to knowledge that African countries have played a key role in pushing forward at the international level.
A new petition by Dick Kawooya calls upon AMCOST V to delay the establishment of PAIPO in order to allow for wider consultations on the nature and scope of this organization. Most important, the petition calls for recalibrating PAIPO’s objectives and mandate so they are in line with Africa’s development needs and priorities.