Side event on Geographical Indications in Africa at the 5th AU-EU Agricultural Ministerial Conference
The 5th African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Agricultural Ministerial Conference took place on 30 June 2023 in Rome. The event provided an opportunity for AU and EU Ministers of Agriculture to exchange views and share best practices on the development of more resilient food systems and sustainable agriculture value chains.
The conference was organised with the support of the Intellectual Property Rights & Innovation in Africa (AfrIPI), an EU funded project implemented by the EUIPO. It aimed at upholding discussions between AU and EU Ministers of Agriculture, as well as representatives of other international and national organisations on the future of the continental strategy on GIs. It allowed for an assessment of the main achievements of GIs in the past five years regarding the contribution to food resilience and sustainable value chains, the progress registered under the framework of the Continental Strategy, the innovations made by African countries in the protection, governance, and sustainability of GIs, the challenges faced, as well as future corporations.
In addition, AfrIPI hosted a side event on ‘Intellectual Property to the Benefits of Farmers: Discover an African Perspective on GIs’. This provided a platform to raise public awareness of the role of GIs in promoting the resilience and sustainability of African food systems, as well as to document best practices in partnerships and cooperation on the implementation of continental frameworks to advance food security.
In his opening speech on the Side Event on GIs, H.E. Amb. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development stated “We consider Geographic Indications a significant tool for sustainable and rural development, organization and promotion of agricultural value chains products, their position in local, regional and international markets but also an important lever for agricultural and rural transformation”.
A visibility package of GIs in Africa which included the projection of a video on African GIs, the display of roll-ups depicting success stories under the Continental Strategy for GIs in Africa, a QR code with links to downloadable material, and a basket of African GIs, were made available by AfrIPI to all participants.
Over the last 20 years, GIs have emerged as a phenomenon in Africa generating growing interest among producers, consumers, and policymakers. The launching of the AU Continental Strategy on GIs (2018-2023), highlighted the benefits GIs could bring to a wide range of development issues in the African Union Agenda 2063.