Some key events in the early development of the proposal for a Pan African Intellectual Property Organization
Joelle Dountio
10 February 2013

Feb 2003. The Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which is a program of the African Union, and the South African Department of Science and Technology jointly organized a regional workshop on ‘Developing a Shared Platform for Science and Technology Development’. The workshop identified specific issues and areas for further discussion and recommended the creation of the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST).

November 6-7 2003. AMCOST I conference noted the urgent need to build the continent’s capacities to harness, apply and develop science and technology; to eradicate poverty, fight diseases, stem environmental degradation and enhance competitiveness and economic development. In this light, the conference adopted an “Outline of a Plan of Action” and set up an AMCOST Steering Committee to set out continental priorities and policies pertaining to development and the application of science and technology for Africa’s socio-economic transformation.

November 2004-March 2005. AMCOST conducted some studies and engaged in expert consultations on key issues to provide a rich contextual and technical base to further develop the “Outline of a Plan of Action”. This culminated into the African Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) which aims to: enable Africa harness and apply science, technology and related innovations to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development; and to ensure that Africa contributes to the global pool of scientific knowledge and technological innovations. The Scientific Technical and Research Commission of the African Union is in charge of overseeing implementation of the programs of the CPA.

May, 2006. The African Union Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology and the African Union General Office convened a meeting to deliberate on a range of intellectual property issues. It is during this meeting that the idea of creating a Pan African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) was first mooted.

Petition: A new course for The Pan African Intellectual Property Organization is urgently needed


November 20-24, 2006. During the AMCOST extraordinary conference on establishing PAIPO, delegates considered proposals and reports on African science and technology matters such as a proposal for the creation of PAIPO. According to these delegates, PAIPO will provide a broad-based platform for African Member States to benefit from a coordinated stock of specialized intellectual property knowledge and services that would promote innovation, techno-industrial competitiveness, and economic growth. This will add impetus to the political will and commitment to inventiveness and innovation.

January 29-30, 2007. The Summit decision by African Heads of State to establish PAIPO noted the need to establish such a single Organization, and the African Union Assembly requested the Chairperson of the Scientific, Technical and Research Commission to, in collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs), WIPO, the African Intellectual Property Organization (AIPO), and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), submit texts relevant to the establishment of PAIPO.

November 12-16, 2007. AMCOST at its 3rd session discussed the progress report on Research Policy Framework, Capacity Building for African Policymakers and the Formation PAIPO. The African Union Scientific Technical and Research Commission was then appointed as the focal point for all PAIPO matters, communication with WIPO and other key stakeholders.

November 12-15, 2012. The draft statute of PAIPO was presented by the Scientific, Technical and Research Commission of the African Union to the AMCOST for discussion.

January 21-28, 2013. The African Union at its 20th summit adopted a decision to create PAIPO and requested the African Commission to convene a meeting of all stakeholders dealing with intellectual property in the implementation of the Decision by the May 2013 Summit.