By Simon Abaho
The meeting of the assemblies of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which bring together WIPO’s 184-member states, has elected Uganda Registration Services Bureau Registrar General, Mercy K. Kainobwisho as vice-chairperson of the conference.
During the same meeting, Saudi Arabia’s Shayea A. Alshayea was elected as chairperson of the conference.
The meeting of WIPO Assemblies, which runs from October 4 to 8, 2021, will take stock of progress in the organization’s work and discuss future policy directions.
Mercy K.Kainobwisho’s election was overwhelmingly approved by the hundreds of government delegates, including ministers, and observers attending the inaugural session of the assemblies, with many attending in person under strict COVID-19 pandemic protocols and others connecting remotely.
“I thank you all for the confidence in my abilities. It is incumbent upon us to sustain, expand and deepen the role of WIPO to improve the lives of all people, through creation of solutions to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our communities and lives,”Kainobwisho said shortly after election.
“I am confident that human ingenuity will make our world better through innovations and creativity. I am proud to be part of the team of leaders to see this happen.”
She noted that the WIPO General Assembly traditionally provided the opportunity to assess challenges encountered and progress made in achieving stated goals and objectives.
Kainobwisho’s election is a major milestone for Uganda because it comes at a time when Cabinet recently passed the National Intellectual Property Policy, and the signing of the Kampala Protocol which aims at supporting voluntary registration of copyright and related rights, all of which form the agenda for promotion and commercialization of intellectual property rights.
The policy is being implemented by multi-sectoral stakeholders involved in protection of Intellectual property although supervision of its implementation is with Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
The October 4 to 8 assembly will discuss a wide range of issues including intellectual property-related indicators which have shown great resilience despite the economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic. The assembly will also work towards finding practical ways of increasing human innovation and creativity as principal drivers of economic growth, amidst the pandemic.
At the assembly, Caroline Matovu, a Ugandan entrepreneur and alumni of a capacity-building WIPO project, was recognized for creating a new detergent brand in her backyard to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mercy K. Kainobwisho becomes the second Ugandan to be elected to a leading role at the WIPO Assemblies after Bemanya Twebaze, the former Registrar General and now Director-General of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) was elected President of the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement, during the 14th session of the WIPO Advisory Committee on enforcement in Geneva, Switzerland in 2019.
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