Kelly Thompson
Chairperson,
Adams & Adams

Simon Brown
Chairperson,
Africa Strategy Committee

Introduction

The catastrophic impact of Covid-19 on the planet at large impacted on all walks of life and  Africa was not spared.

The global pandemic played havoc with small and large businesses, often with devastating consequences, but with all catastrophes, the human spirit learns from such experiences. The green shoots emerging from the devastation, show encouraging signs for a continent that boasts the largest free trade area (AFCTA) with a 1.2-billion-person market. There is every prospect in the year ahead of yielding growth and harnessing the potential of Africa’s resources and people.

The significant down-turn in economic activity over the past 12 months has, of course, played a significant role in pushing many people into abject poverty, and thus the road ahead is not without challenges. That said,  Africans have shown their resilience in times of adversity, and optimism remains that the continent will rebound with growth expected between 1.4 to 2.7%, driven by   factors such as investing in the digital economy and infrastructure development.

Denis Bohoussou
Director General of OAPI

Welcome from the OAPI DG

The strategic challenges of the intellectual property system are highlighted, more than ever, by the global context in general and the African context in particular.

In fact, when properly used, the intellectual property system is a tool for the development of technological innovation. This is clearly evident in the current race for the development and supply of vaccines and treatments to effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the patents system for inventions is of invaluable support.

Furthermore, faced with border closures, many companies have had to reinvent their production and marketing methods, thus emphasising the value of trademarks and other distinctive signs. These intellectual property tools therefore allow for protected goods and services to cross borders and reach other territories in complete security.

Despite this, in Africa, the intellectual property system is not yet considered to be a tool for business and state development. On the contrary, there is a tendency for the intellectual property system to be regarded as an obstacle, a hindrance, and wrongfully so. Therefore, regional intellectual property offices like the African Intellectual Property Organization must make a concerted effort to promote the strategic use of intellectual property by both businesses and states.

Despite the challenges of the past year the Adams & Adams Network has exceeded expectations and pulled together to continue to provide unparalleled service to our clients in South Africa and across the world.  To celebrate and recognise the resilience of the continent and its people during the Covid-19 pandemic, members of our Africa Network participated in a video message entitled ‘From Africa With Love’.

We believe that through co-operation and collaboration, we will emerge stronger as a continent and we look forward to a brighter future filled with hope, opportunity, prosperity, and happiness.

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