The IP4GROWTH project organised a Regional Conference in Intellectual Property for Agricultural Development in West Africa on September 1st & 2nd in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The Conference was hosted by project partner CIRES/Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny de Cocody and inaugurated by Prof. Karamoko, President of Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny de Cocody, and by the Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research for Ivory Coast, Prof. Ly-Bakayoko.
The event brought together over 60 representatives of universities, rural communities, national IP offices and ministries of Science & Education and Agriculture from Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Also present were IP experts from the African Organization of Intellectual Property (OAPI) and Queen Mary College, University of London as well as project coordinator University of Alicante.
The main objectives of the Regional Conference were to
- Raise awareness on the importance and utility of knowledge-based tools (IP rights, particularly Gis) for agricultural and rural development.
- Promote dialogue on the use of IP in agriculture in West Africa.
- Present the results of the IP4GROWTH project.
The conference included presentations during plenary sessions, discussion & round table sessions, a poster session and an exhibition of Ivory Coast products that have been identified during the project as potential candidates for protection as GIs.
Conference participants concluded that the IP4GROWTH project has been very effective on training university staff and raising awareness of the potential of IP rights (particularly GIs) to help develop rural and agricultural communities, and that governments and national IP offices in West Africa need to provide more support to rural communities for innovation and protection of their IP rights. In addition the National Committees of GIs need more support and resources from national governments in order to be able to provide this. Finally, it was agreed that universities need to develop IP policies to help protect innovation & research, and have transversal IP courses taught in all degrees.
All presentations from the Regional Conference are available to download here.