African Regional Intellectual Property Organization

The Importance of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions in the AfCFTA

September 9, 2019

With the launching of the operational phase or phase 2 of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), debates and negotiations have started on different instruments that will govern this agreement. One of the main subjects would be intellectual property and particularly issues related to the protection of tradition knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). The intellectual property (IP) Annex or chapter of the AfCFTA will give Africans countries a unique occasion to deal with these issues.

What Should the AfCFTA's IP Agenda Be?

Intellectual Property (IP) is one of the three items currently under negotiation in Phase II of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA negotiations include IP because of the continued relevance of the innovative and creative sectors to trade in goods and services across the globe. With a focus on Pharmaceutical Patents, Plant Variety Protection (PVP), Geographical Indications (GIs) and Traditional Knowledge, this post suggests that the primary purpose of the Protocol on IP in the AfCFTA should be to promote socio-economic development on the continent.