Ministry of Justice Holds Seminar on Intellectual Property Rights


By Musa Saho

The Intellectual Property Office under the Ministry of Justice in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), on Tuesday, 12th September 2023 kicked off a 3-day capacity building and awareness-raising seminar for policymakers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), geared toward creating a better understanding on the important role of IP in nation building, at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center in Bijilo.

The seminar was attended by key officials from the Ministry of Justice, delegates of WIPO, representatives of the University of The Gambia, Judiciary, and representatives from different government ministries, Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry among others.

In his opening remarks, the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary, Mr. Hussein Thomasi said, the seminar was very pertinent as it will provide policymakers with the necessary skills, knowledge, and expertise to develop and implement policies and programs that are effective, efficient, and responsive to the needs of the people.

He added that the seminar will also provide a platform for policymakers to share experiences, best practices, and challenges in the area of intellectual property.

“The experiences of selected African countries have shown that trademarks, certification marks, collective marks, and geographical indications can be powerful tools for wealth creation and economic growth,” he said.

On her part, the Acting Director of the WIPO Division for Africa, Mrs. Loretta Asiedu said the seminar was aimed at demystifying intellectual property and assisting policymakers and senior officials to support the creation of a conducive environment that fosters a robust IP system in support of innovation and creativity.

In highlighting the work of WIPO in the Gambia, Mrs. Loretta said, her office from 2016 to 2019, collaborated with the Gambia to develop a National IP Policy and Strategy, which was adopted by the cabinet and launched in 2021, adding that this effort and others demonstrates the importance WIPO attached to intellectual property promotion in the country.

Furthermore, she said her office is convinced that by nurturing a deep understanding of intellectual property rights and their impact, they empower policymakers and senior officials to promote legislation and strategies that foster innovation, protect creativity, and drive economic growth.

On his part, Mr. Abdoulie Colley, the Registrar General, described the crucial role played by policymakers in shaping and regulating intellectual property (IP), to foster innovation, protect the rights of creators, and promote economic growth. He added that one of the primary areas in which policymakers play an important role is the development of legislation and regulation that defines and protects various forms of intellectual property, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.

He concluded by expressing optimism that the seminar would build the skills and awareness needed to develop, adopt, and harness the Intellectual Property system so as to promote national economic and development goals.