Monday, 19 November 2012

A review of African official IP websites: no.19: Ethiopia


Back in August, this Leo was disappointed to report that Burundi backtracked on the once upon a time online presence for its intellectual property office. In that piece, he wondered why Burundi (or any other African country) would not consider taking a leaf out of Ethiopia's book on how to commercialise certain agricultural produce using IP as a tool. ("Don't worry, Tanzania listened", says Afro Leo).

According to this report, a team from Tanzania - sponsored by WIPO and led by Engineer Adolph Kumburu, the Director General of the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) - attended a workshop in Ethiopia to learn about coffee branding. Engineer Kumburu said that the essence of the visit was to study the role of IP rights in promoting agricultural exports including procedures and processes based on the Ethiopian experience in branding coffee for exports. He also stated that lessons learned would ensure Tanzania's ownership of its own coffee brands.
Is this Afro Leo's face?

Well done, Ethiopia, for leading the way on this particular area in Africa; but what about the online presence which this blog reported last year? What has changed in 12 months? Well, readers would find that www.eipo.gov.et, as of this morning, now comes up with "Service Unavailable" (Afro Leo is not sure whether the website was simply down for maintenance or have been taking off cyberspace completely and forgotten. He hopes it is temporal, and will revisit the website later since this is unlike the Ethiopians.).

This Leo doesn't need a cup of coffee to be active throughout the day; but, he would like to try the Ethiopian Harrar™ - without the Afro Leo look-alike fluff.
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The war between Ethiopia and Starbucks over a cup of coffee, see here
Tanzania's coffee beans high in price and in demand at auction, see here
Doom and gloom: Will Ethiopian wild coffee soon be a thing of the past? see here
IP rights, big corporations (GM crops) versus poor farmers, see here

1 comment:

Afro Leo said...

Afro Leo is happy to confirm that the website for the Ethiopian IP office was just down for while - probably due to maintenance.

www.eipo.gov.et is alive and kicking (just like we saw it last year).