A Workshop on “Creativity and Access to Knowledge: A social and Economic Impetus for Africa” which has been organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Japan Patent Office (JPO) in cooperation with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the Government of Uganda has started this morning, 27 March 2015, in Kampala, Uganda.

The meeting seeks to raise awareness among Parliamentarians from the ARIPO Member States of the importance of ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty by their respective governments. The Treaty, which was developed by WIPO and adopted on 27 June 2013, facilitates access to published works by persons who are blind or otherwise print disabled.

It was made clear during the event that none of the ARIPO Member States has ratified or acceded to the Treaty. During the discussions, the Parliamentarians were however unanimous in committing themselves to working with the relevant authorities in their respective countries in order to accelerate ratification of the Treaty.

Parliamentarians were also sensitized on the importance of ratification of the Beijing Treaty on Audio-visual Performances of June 2012. Notwithstanding this development in the film industry, only Botswana among the ARIPO Member States has ratified the Treaty. The Parliamentarians participating in the event acknowledged the contribution of the creative industry in the development of their countries and concluded that accession to the Beijing Treaty is beneficial to the Member States.