Benin, like the African community, celebrated, Sunday, September 13, 2020, the African Day of Technology and Intellectual Cleanliness. This year’s edition focused on the theme: “The Role of Intellectual Property Offices in Africa in the Context of Covid-19”. As a prelude to this day, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Shadiya Alimatou Assouman, sent a message to the nation.
Established on July 14, 1999 by the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, this day aims to encourage Africans to invest in research and development and the protection of their creations. It is also an opportunity for governments, creators and civil society to remember one of the major challenges that is the development of the industry. For the Minister of Industry and Trade, Shadiya Alimatou Assouman, the celebration this year takes place in a global health context linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is in this context that the theme of this year echoes axis 6 of pillar 3 “Strengthening basic social services and social protection” of the Government’s Action Program (Pag 2016-2021) which aims, between others, to reorganize the health system for more effective health coverage. The choice of this theme is explained by the need to offer medical and technological solutions that intellectual property can bring to the relentless fight that countries around the world are waging against this Coronavirus pandemic. “Indeed, the increase in the number of trips and trade between countries is promoting the spread of the disease globally. The World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Member States of the United Nations adopted the International Health Regulations (ISR) in 2005 in order to prevent the international spread of diseases, to protect themselves, exercise some control and intervene through public health measures, particularly in the face of potential public health emergencies of global concern. Benin, complying with the recommendations of this Regulation, has adopted a national health security action plan 2019-2021 in order to strengthen its management system for health emergencies and other major public health events such as the case of Covid-19, ”she explained. Going further, she pointed out that the health situation in the world is alarming and it is urgent to find an effective remedy to eradicate this disease which claims many victims. From this point of view, she said that intellectual property can play a major role in providing innovative solutions. In this regard, patents for inventions and technical information in the health field held by intellectual property offices are excellent avenues to explore. In addition, the African Intellectual Property Organization (Oapi), in its vision of promoting the strategic use of intellectual property, is supporting its member states in the response to Covid-19. To do this, Oapi has designed a database of inventions patents and technical information that it makes available to Member States to facilitate the research and production of certain products essential to the fight against this pandemic. . Finally, she invited researchers, inventors, innovators and investors to seize this opportunity offered by Oapi so that, in a synergy of actions, through technology and intellectual property, lasting solutions can come out. facing current health challenges from which Benin is not completely immune.