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59 J. Afr. L. 1 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/jaflaw59 and id is 1 raw text is: Journal of African Law, 59, 1 (2015), 1-24 ( SOAS, University of London, 2015.
African Union Rising to the Need for Continental
IP Protection? The Establishment of the
Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization
Y Mupangavanhu*
Intellectual property rights protection is at the forefront of some of the major con-
troversies regarding the impact of globalization. African countries have in recent
years participated to an unprecedented degree in both international and bilateral
initiatives dealing with intellectual property. The negotiating positions have been
varied and, from a regional perspective, have not been coherent at some levels,
with different countries advancing different positions. African countries have
adopted regional integration as a strategy to deal with the challenges of globaliza-
tion. Regional integration is believed to increase negotiating capacities and competi-
tiveness in global trade. It is also believed to improve access to foreign technology.
The African Union is facilitating the establishment of a continental intellectual prop-
erty body. Accordingly, the main aim of this article is to discuss the establishment of
the Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization in line with the African Union's
vision for regional integration.
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the
Organization Africaine de la Propri&t Intellectuelle (African Intellectual
Property Organization - OAPI) are currently the two African regional organiza-
tions that are responsible for managing the different forms of intellectual
property (IP) in the region. OAPI has 17 members1 and ARIPO has 19 mem-
bers,2 out of a total of 54 African countries.3 The remaining countries are
*   Senior lecturer, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. The article has been drawn
from the author's PhD thesis: The Regional Integration of African Trade Mark Laws:
Challenges and Possibilities (2014, University of the Western Cape).
1   OAPI member states include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic,
Chad, Congo, C6te d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger,
Senegal and Togo. See: <http://www.oapi.int/index.php/en/aipo/etats-membres> (last
accessed 17 November 2014).
2   The ARIPO member states include Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho,
Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland,
United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe: ARIPO Member states,
available at: <http://www.aripo.org/index.php/about-aripo/membership-memberstate>
(last accessed 17 November 2014).
3   There are currently 54 independent countries in Africa following the independence of the
Republic of South Sudan on 9 July 2011. See T Tekle African Union accepts South Sudan as

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