Hackbarth, S., The Opportunities are Vast in a Potential U.S.-Kenya Free Trade Agreement, available at: , accessed June 12, 2021.Search in Google Scholar In recognition of the central importance of intellectual property (IP) protection in today`s economy and the benefits of continental COOPERATION in the field of IP, the AfCFTA will establish a protocol on intellectual property property, a first draft of which has been published. “The AfCFTA reflects both the new African model of what a trade agreement should look like and some aspects of the Multilateral Legal Framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The AfCFTA has a strong development focus and includes economic and social development and legal harmonization among its objectives, taking into account aspects of the AU`s Agenda 2063, which prioritizes inclusive social and economic development and links Africa`s growth and inclusion to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The first phase of the AfCFTA negotiations focused on the Framework Agreement establishing the AfCFTA and the negotiations on the Protocols on Trade in Goods and Services and Dispute Settlement. A second phase is devoted to negotiations on investment, competition policy and intellectual property. The second phase is expected to be completed by June 2021, but it could be delayed by the pandemic. The Agreement establishing the AfCFTA (the “Agreement”) was signed on March 21, 2018, but entered into force on March 30, 2018. May 2019 after the deposit of instruments of ratification by 24 countries in force. As of 19 April 2021, 54 countries had signed the agreement, while 36 countries (including Nigeria) had deposited their instruments of ratification with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC). In particular, trade under the AfCFTA agreement officially began on 1 January 2021, subject to negotiations on trade protocols and instruments. In early March 2021, following the ratification of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Nigerian National Board of Trade launched a consultation process on issues that represent the country`s priorities as it prepares to participate in negotiations on the Protocol to the AfCFTA Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (IPR).
We have drafted a position paper as part of this process, focusing on important policy considerations that should constitute Nigeria`s negotiating priorities on intellectual property rights. This article describes some of the key points of our brief and concludes by emphasizing that the overall political focus should be on promoting initiatives that promote Nigeria`s national interest while recognizing and taking into account the ideals of inclusion, openness and cooperation in the context of the AfCFTA. In this context, the document recommends that Nigeria prioritize negotiations in recognition of its most important economic assets in the copyright sectors and focus on strengthening the institutional capacity of its patent and technology transfer offices so that Nigeria can effectively exploit the relevant trade-related aspects of IP flexibility on the ground. Nigeria can learn from South Africa by adopting the appropriate legal framework for benefit-sharing and the overall protection of traditional knowledge and genetic resources. Relevant guidance is provided by the Swakopmund Protocol for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore, the 2015 Arusha Protocol for the Protection of Plant Breeding and the African Union Model Law on the Protection of the Rights of Local Communities, Farmers, Breeders and on the Regulation of Access to Biological Resources. We are still leaving the starting doors, but Africa is already accelerating. While the implementation of this historic trade agreement takes time and effort, protecting Africa`s spirit and aspirations for increased trade and prosperity over the next decade and beyond should be at the heart of policymakers, the private sector and the international community. The World Bank agrees. In a July 2020 study on the economic and distributive effects of the AfCFTA, he highlighted the transformative potential of the agreement and noted that its full implementation could lead to the lifting of an estimated 100 million people out of poverty.
But how did the AfCFTA come about? What are their key elements and what role will intellectual property rights play in achieving their objectives? Now that all of Africa has signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and 29 countries have ratified it (as of January 2020), the region is currently implementing a continental single market for goods and services and laying the groundwork for the establishment of a continental customs union. Many on the continent see the AfCFTA as a model of investment, economic diversification and job creation that will shape Africa`s future in the coming years, help achieve the goals of the 2030 SDGs and consolidate progress on the African Union`s Agenda 2063. In fact, African countries with a combined GDP of more than $2.3 trillion and a population of $1.2 billion – most of which are under the age of 30 – will benefit significantly from intraregional trade. More recently, the international and global economy has been driven by innovation, creativity, knowledge and technology, each of which is fundamentally supported by intellectual property (IP) and intellectual property rights (IPR). The agreement has three levels: the first is the AfCFTA agreement itself, which serves as a framework agreement. The second includes protocols on trade in goods, trade in services, dispute settlement rules and procedures (dispute settlement), investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS). .