Introduction

Kelly Thompson
Chairperson,
Adams & Adams

Simon Brown
Chairperson,
Africa Strategy Committee

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 of between 1.4 to 2.7% driven by   factors such as  investing in the digital economy and infrastructure development.

Despite a difficult past 12 months, the Adams & Adams Africa Network continues to go from strength to strength with our local partners playing a significant role in assisting  our key messages of  developing   local laws, protecting the environment, respecting human rights and supporting local entrepreneurs. These messages  remain key for  the continued growth of business in Africa.

On the intellectual property front, there continue to be improvements in many African countries and we highlight some of these changes, updates and developments in this bulletin.

We are most honoured to have the welcome note to our latest Update from the Director-General of OAPI, Mr Denis Bohoussou and also welcome the new ARIPO Director-General, Mr Bemanya Twebaze.

Unfortunately, we were forced to cancel our Adams & Adams Africa Network meeting in 2020, but thanks to a significant improvement in technology, we were able to hold  virtual meetings with all our local partners . We plan to host our 2021 Africa Agent Network meeting as a virtual event during the early part of September.

Although it took more than 100 years, Adams & Adams is  pleased to announce the appointment   Kelly Thompson as the first female Chairperson of Adams & Adams.  Kelly is an experienced trade mark litigator and has handled many cases across the continent.  Not only will Kelly bring her diverse thinking to the table, but also measured optimism, which is much needed in guiding  us through, what is still likely to be a challenging year ahead.