September 19, 2016 — Last week, a Sub-Regional Workshop on the Development and Effective Use of Intellectual Property Statistics for ARIPO Member States, was held in Harare, Zimbabwe. The workshop, which was organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) in cooperation with the Government of Zimbabwe and ARIPO at the request of the Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, called on African IP offices to value the importance of IP statistics reporting.
According to WIPO, only 25 of the 54 African countries have been consistently availing their data to the international body. In discussion was the fact that had all African states been providing their statistical data to international and regional bodies, the gloomy picture of Africa’s contribution to global intellectual property transactions would be significantly different. Addressing this issues, Mr. Mosahid Khan, Head IP Statistics Section at WIPO and the Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando dos Santos stated that Africa has but itself to blame for the sad picture that is portrayed globally and urged ARIPO Member States to realize that statistics also help them in forecasting, planning and monitoring their IP activities. They urged them to develop a culture of basing decisions on accurate and validated data as incorrect data leads to wrong decisions being taken.
It was also stated that each year, WIPO’s Economic and Statistics Division sends out questionnaires, which IP offices worldwide are expected to complete and return. Regrettably, many African countries including some ARIPO Member States do not respond to the questionnaires.