Monday, 10 September 2012

A review of African official IP websites: no.9 Central African Republic

This little Leo thinks that it must have been easier to get into the Central African Republic (CAR) back in 1977 than it is today; if not, how did the OAPI come into existence? In hindsight, it appears that CAR was ahead of its time; or perhaps, she just found herself in such a position as the birthplace of the OAPI. (Afro Leo comments that, some argue that IP laws on the African continent are too strict and not concurrent with economic development). Generally, this Leo also finds it strange that  certain treaties or other legal instruments are signed off in remote places. And sometimes, these places bear no relevance to the matter, or moving forward, are unlikely to have any significant stake, role or influence in it. To this Leo, CAR appears to be one of those places. 

Exactly as experienced last year, there is no website, yet, for CAR's intellectual property (IP) offices and no IP-related news from the country was found online. Last week, Jeremy Phillips of the IPKat, mooted the need for developed nations to initiate some form of bilateral partnership with most of these countries in Africa for operational support. (Afro Leo adds that since these countries, for instance OAPI members, operate an IP regime beyond the TRIPS requirement, why can't they also have an online presence, at the bare minimum, or one similar to their counterparts in the developed world?) This little Leo holds a similar opinion to that expressed above: we know that amongst others, France assisted the francophone African countries in establishing the OAPI and that the IP laws in these countries were modelled on French legislation; so why are the engineers not helping the structure stand in a digital age? (Afro Leo also feels that the recipient nation must have the will to make any of these efforts work).

Even more worrying is that, as this Leo pointed out  here and here, the two regional IP organisations in Africa are also in need of operational support, themselves,  to 'get their houses in order' online and perhaps, to be able to also support their members in this area.

Where do we begin?
Which developed nation is willing to lead by example? 

Please let Afro-IP know.

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