News12 November 2019Brussels, BelgiumAgriculture and Rural Development
A 2020 action plan for Geographical Indications in Africa
On 9 November 2019, significant progress was made towards the establishment of African Geographical Indications (GIs). The Consultative Committee for the Continental strategy for Geographical Indications in Africa set an action plan for 2020, reaffirming their commitment to the development of GIs in Africa.
Since its creation, the Committee has successfully launched a regional GI training in Yaoundé, identified new GI pilot projects in various African countries and created a digital hub for African GIs.
Building on those, the action plan for 2020 includes further training on GIs, developing the GI digital hub, assisting with developing or improving the legal framework on GIs, a communication action plan and a research programme which includes the creation of an African research network.
Developing GIs in Africa will contribute to rural development and benefit the farming sector, while also preserving and promoting Africa’s cultural and culinary traditions. The continental GI strategy will contribute to the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which entered into force in May this year.
The Consultative Committee has members from the African Union, the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and the European Commission. In addition, it also has observers from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
The African GI strategy provides background on GIs in Africa and their implementation, aiming to support food security and sustainable rural development, as well as encouraging trade.
Implementing the continental strategy for GIs in Africa was included in the political declaration and action agenda signed by European Commissioner for agriculture and rural development, Phil Hogan, and African Commissioner for rural economy and agriculture, Josefa Sacko. The signature ceremony concluded the third AU-EU agriculture ministerial conference in June 2019 in Rome.