Having attended two-thirds of the WTO’s ministerial conferences, I have been reflecting on why they have failed. In most cases it comes down to an abuse of process and bullying by more powerful Members, sometimes with collusion from the chair and the secretariat, leaving developing countries with two choices: capitulation or denial of consensus.
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.