Experts in the country have stressed the need for the country to become signatories to African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) in view of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
According to them, this would complement efforts of the federal government to lay the foundation for the creative industry in the country to benefit from the continental pact.
They stated this at the 2021 Legal Business Conference held in Lagos, with the theme, ‘Entertainment Law and Business: Issues and Opportunities.’
In her remarks, the founder and convener, Legal Business Network, Ms. Ifeoma Ben, said the nation must improve its infrastructure capabilities to enable stakeholders in the creative industry maximise the country’s signatory to the continental pact.
“We cannot have this conversation without talking about contemporary issues, so AfCFTA is one of the areas that we really need to look at because it will open up our borders, enlarge the market because we are now going to have a liberalisation of markets and so we really need to discuss it.
“There are a lot of opportunities under AfCFTA and you may not be able to tap these opportunities unless you understand what the opportunities are and how you can really go about it.
“Apart from creating awareness, the government will also have to look at areas that would help in the implementation of the agreement,” she stressed.
On his part, ex-President, Association of Movie Producers, Zik Okafor, said Nigeria must address IP concerns to leverage the liberation of the continental creative market, “with a combine Gross Domestic Product of $2.6 trillion, now we have the opportunity to extend the frontiers because what we have in Nigerian is just 200 million screens.”
In her contribution, a member of the Presidential National Action Committee on Nigeria’s readiness on the implementation of AfCFTA, Mrs. Foluke Akinmola, stressed the need for more awareness creation on AfCFTA, but also encouraged Nigerians to be proactive in conversation surrounding the trade treaty.
Panelists, however, agreed that as part of the ongoing efforts of the federal government, “Nigeria must become a member of the ARIPO.”
ARIPO is an intergovernmental organisation (IGO) that facilitates cooperation among member states in intellectual property matters, with the objective of pooling financial and human resources, and seeking technological advancement for economic, social, technological, scientific and industrial development.