Book Symposium Introduction: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Africa


September 27, 2021

Earlier in November 2020, I reviewed the book, Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Africa (Oxford University Press, 2020) for The IPKat Blog. In that review, I observed that as a continent with 54 countries having distinct and diverse legal systems and rules, “understanding and following developments on law and practice in Africa can be an uphill task even for a field like IP law that ‘enjoys’ the benefit of various international treaties”. To translate this observation in practical terms, my review could only engage with the broad objectives of the book and the way in which the chapters on each African country sought to achieve those objectives.

It was therefore a welcome opportunity to be invited by the editors of AfronomicsLAW blog to organise this book symposium. AfronomicsLAW book symposia are always incisive and provide an opportunity for thorough and varied perspectives on books on various aspects of international economic law as they relate to Africa and the Global South. This book symposium is no exception. Contributors have taken on different countries within the African continent in order to “drill down” to specifics as it were.

Accordingly, the next few days present views from a line-up of scholars and practitioners from different parts of the African continent: Ruth Mulenga Sinkala, a lecturer at the University of Zambia; Hanani Hlomani, a doctoral candidate in intellectual property law at the University of Cape Town, South Africa; Dr Isaac Rutenberg; Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law, Strathmore University, Kenya; and Obafemi Agaba, Partner at Jackson, Etti & Edu, Lagos, Nigeria.

The symposium will close with a postscript from the authors, Marius Schneider and Vanessa Ferguson highlighting what has happened in the IP enforcement “arena” in Africa since the book’s publication.


Obafemi Agaba: Springboard for Increased Advocacy Against Counterfeiting and Piracy in Africa

Hanani Hlomani: Intellectual Property Enforcement in Africa: Are Regional IP Organizations the Way to Go?

Isaac Rutenberg: First Approximation for the Black Letter Law and Key Aspects of Practice in IP Enforcement Across Africa

Ruth Mulenga Sinkala: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Africa: The Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions Perspective Matters Too

Marius Schneider & Vanessa Ferguson: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Africa: Book Promotion in the Time of COVID