The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, has held fruitful deliberations with the Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Mr. Daren Tang, on the sidelines of the General Assembly of Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) currently ongoing in Geneva.
The Attorney-General whose Ministry is responsible for matters concerning intellectual property rights in Ghana, on 7th July, 2023, officially led a Government delegation consisting of the Registrar-General of Ghana, Mrs. Grace Issahaque, senior officials of the Ministry of Justice and Ghana’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Emmanuel Kwame Antwi, to the sixty-fourth (64th) edition of the General Assembly of the world body held at the headquarters of WIPO.
A-G, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame and WIPO BOSS, Mr. Daren Tang exchanging Pleasantries
Mr. Dame honoured an invitation for a meeting with the head of the global institution responsible for administering intellectual property in order to discuss pertinent issues relating to Ghana’s development in intellectual property as well as Ghana’s current status as the Coordinator of the African Group of Member States of WIPO from 2023 to 2024, a position Ghana is holding for the first time in over 20 years.
Ghana is also the Vice-President of the Lisbon Union on Geographical Indications and President of the Paris Union Assembly of WIPO.
WIPO Director-General, Mr. Daren Tang’s comments
The Director-General of WIPO expressed his sincerest appreciation for the honouring of the invitation by the Attorney-General of Ghana as well as the ministerial support for WIPO’s work exhibited by Mr. Dame. Mr. Tang noted that Ghana had in recent times shown strong leadership on the African continent as far as intellectual property was concerned. He expressed the view that Ghana’s status as the Coordinator of the African Group at WIPO can only result in meaningful development for Africa’s intellectual property law if backed by the necessary ministerial leadership, which Ghana is demonstrating.
The Director-General of WIPO noted that the registration of the “Bolga basket” by Ghana as a geographical indication from Ghana as well as the deposit of the instrument of ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (the UPOV Convention) by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice in November, 2021, are very remarkable steps by Ghana in the protection of intellectual property. Mr Tang affirmed his preparedness to assist Ghana in the significant strides it is making in intellectual property.
The Attorney-General expressed his delegation’s appreciation for the warm hospitality extended to them by the World Intellectual Property Organisation and assured that Ghana will continue to deepen its special relationship with the Director-General in particular, and WIPO in general. He also stated that the Government of Ghana under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, recognizes the importance of innovation, creativity and industrialization as key to national development. The need to foster an enabling environment for creativity and innovation to thrive at the national and continental level, according to Mr. Dame, has assumed paramount importance to the Government of Ghana, with the recent location of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area in Accra, which has a dedicated Intellectual Property Division.
Ghana as Coordinator of African Group of WIPO
As Coordinator of the African Group, the Attorney-General indicated that the Director-General of WIPO can expect maximum cooperation and collaboration from Ghana and the African Group. He assured the global body of Ghana’s steadfast support and commitment to the work of WIPO and close monitoring of the work of the African Group.
Request for technical assistance
Mr. Dame requested WIPO’s technical assistance for the upgrading of Ghana’s intellectual property system, described as the “IPAS system” for Intellectual Property Office administration including the Madrid Module at Ghana’s national offices, in order to enable the office provide efficient services to users.
He also added that Ghana looks forward to advancing the project on Geographical Indications in the coming months, aimed at improving the usage of the intellectual property rights systems and protection as a tool for increased development and prosperity in Ghana. The A-G noted that Ghana would require the technical support of WIPO to effectively sharpen the skills of the staff to man the affairs of the Office particularly, in the area of Geographical Indications.
Request for Ghana to hold the Directorship of the African Bureau of WIPO and more senior positions in WIPO’s Management
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice used the occasion to request the support of the Director-General of WIPO for Ghana to hold more senior positions in the world body. Mr. Dame first noted that a Ghanaian national, Dr Edward Kwakwa, currently serves as an Assistant Director-General of WIPO and works closely with Mr Tang. He stated that another senior staff, Mrs Loretta Asiedu is very competent, hard-working and well-connected with member states and the African Missions in Geneva. Having been made the acting Director of the African Bureau, Mr. Dame expressed the hope that Mrs. Loretta Asiedu will be favourably be considered for the substantive position of Director at the African Bureau/Sector of WIPO, when nominations are opened.
Response of Mr. Tang
The Director-General of WIPO, supported the comment of Mr. Dame about the competence of Mrs. Asiedu and indicated that whilst he would do his best possible in view of the proposal by the Attorney-General, positions within WIPO are usually advertised and competed for. He however had no doubt that the experience and ability of Mrs. Loretta Asiedu would be a valuable asset for her.
Mr. Dame has since left for Ghana after the meeting with the WIPO boss. The rest of the Ghana delegation continues with participation in the General Assembly which ends on 14th July, 2023.