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  1. Home
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CLDP Results in Sub-Saharan Africa

CLDP has a long history of work in Sub-Saharan Africa. Programs have had both a regional and individual country scope. Beginning in 1999, under the African Trade and Investment Program (ATRIP), a USAID initiative, CLDP assisted countries throughout West Africa with reforms in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), judicial case management, intellectual property rights, judicial ethics, and investment codes, with the overall objective of reducing the legal and regulatory impediments to more effective regional integration and greater economic growth in West Africa. These countries included Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo; and organizations included the African Development Bank and the Organization of the Harmonization of Business Laws in Africa (OHADA).

CLDP has also conducted numerous programs to introduce the Sub-Saharan business community to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and helped them learn how to take advantage of its incentivizing provisions.

Additionally, CLDP worked with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help its members achieve compliance with their obligations under the WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. Countries that participated in the SADC program were Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Finally, CLDP has been tasked with assisting Sub-Saharan African countries and regions to improve their intellectual property protection. Since 2007, Under the African Global Competitiveness Initiative (AGCI), CLDP has engaged both individual countries, (Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Mali, South Africa, and Kenya) as well as Regional Economic Communities such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); SADC; and the East African Community (EAC) on the reform and strengthening of IP legislation, IP administration, IP enforcement, and IP outreach.

East Africa

CLDP’s work in East Africa has been primarily under the aegis of the African Global Competitiveness Initiative (AGCI) to assist Sub-Saharan regions and countries to reform and strengthen their IP protection and enforcement regimes.


In June 2010, in light of the confusion surrounding the new Kenya Anti-Counterfeiting Agency (ACA), CLDP and the US Department of State Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement (IPE) held a series of meetings and consultations in Nairobi with the relevant Kenyan agencies impacted by the ACA, on the establishment of an interagency approach to IP enforcement. The ACA acknowledged that there was a great need to meet and coordinate with the existing Kenyan agencies, deputized by the Anti-Counterfeit law to provide IP inspectors to the ACA, and requested USG assistance to facilitate such a workshop.Please click here to learn about CLDP’s current programs in Kenya.


In June 2010, CLDP and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) co-organized a three-day IP workshop in coordination with the East African Community (EAC) and the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI), and with participation from the US Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Entitled Regional IP Protection: An East African Coordination, the workshop brought together 80 to 90 IP protection and enforcement officials from the 10 East African countries of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to dialogue on the importance of intellectual property protection and its impact on the region's economies and development. The workshop sought to determine mechanisms, programs and procedures (including the EAC draft anti-counterfeit legislation) that would improve the cooperation, collaboration, and communication amongst IP agencies in pursuit of more effective IP protection in the East Africa region. Recommendations included adoption of IP interagency mechanisms by the countries of East Africa and a regional targeted IP outreach program. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in the East African Community.

Southern Africa

CLDP has worked in Southern Africa since 1999 on intellectual property issues. From 1999 through 2001, CLDP assisted Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and its member states to promote the importance of intellectual property protection to the region, and assisted the SADC member states with moving their intellectual property rights (IP) regimes toward compliance with TRIPS, including the integral enforcement provisions. From 2003 CLDP also worked with Angola, Mozambique and South Africa on improving IP enforcement with a particular emphasis on the judiciary.


From 2003-2008, CLDP assisted the Government of Angola (GOA) to implement modern case management techniques in courts throughout the country. Successful implementation of these techniques allowed Angolan courts to be more transparent and operate more efficiently, thus enhancing their credibility and increasing opportunities for greater trade and investment. Further, it laid the groundwork for the next step in judicial modernization: automation of case management. CLDP worked closely with the Portuguese Ministry of Justice throughout 2006 to customize the case management software for use in Angola courts, install the computer network, and train key court officials in use of the software, all of which culminated in the successful launch of an automated network at the Luanda Provincial Court in October 2006. This represented an historic achievement in the modernization of the Angolan courts, further improving the efficiency and transparency of the Angolan court system.


In 2009, CLDP, together with the World Bank and Commerce’s International Trade Administration, worked with Mozambican judges, the Mozambican IP Office (IPI), Customs, and other key stakeholders to strengthen intellectual property (IP) protection with the goal of increased economic growth. The program explored the importance of IP protection and its impact on Mozambique’s economy, benefiting from members of the private sector who shared the negative effects of poor enforcement on their businesses. CLDP’s work in Mozambique also served as a catalyst to engage senior Mozambican officials in Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional initiatives.


Through workshops and advisors in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Malawi, the CLDP/SADC collaboration succeeded in increasing the knowledge and skill level of SADC and its member states’ officials to identify and/or draft and implementing intellectual property protection measures consonant with their TRIPS obligations. It also introduced the cross-fertilization of solutions to some of the common problems of IP protection and TRIPS compliance in the region.


In May 2010, as part of the ongoing collaboration between the U.S. Government and the Southern African Region, CLDP and the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), jointly with the Republic of Botswana Administration of Justice (AOJ); with participation from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the U.S. Federal Courts, and the RSA Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sponsored a three-day workshop entitled, Regional Workshop on Intellectual Property Enforcement in the Southern Africa Region: The Adjudication of Cases. The workshop brought over 100 participants from the Southern African region to Gaborone, Botswana to address the adjudication of IP cases. Participants included judges and magistrates from Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, as well as the host country’s Administration of Justice, Attorney General’s Chambers, the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property, the Copyright Society of Botswana, the Botswana Police Service, the Unified Revenue Services, and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The workshop increased the skill and knowledge of the participants so that they might more fairly, consistently, and efficiently adjudicate IP cases in the region. Furthermore, the conference sought to increase awareness of the benefits of enhanced IP enforcement through the participation of U.S. Federal Court Judges and prosecutors who shared their experience in adjudicating the many prevalent and difficult issues in trademark, patent and copyright matters.

West Africa and Central Africa

CLDP has worked in West Africa and Central Africa since 1999 to the present. CLDP has worked both with individual countries and on a regional basis to improve the intellectual property protection, regional legal integration, alternative dispute resolution, transparency, government and legal ethics, and public procurement. CLDP’s regional programs have encompassed countries from Senegal to Cameroun, as well as individual country programs with Nigeria, Ghana and Mali.


Since 2007, CLDP has been working closely with the USAID Mission in Mali together with the Malian Government (GOM) to improve the skills and effectiveness of several key agencies for a better enforcement of IP rights. Mali, like many West African countries, act as major transshipment points for counterfeit goods that originate from China, whose final destination is often Europe or the US. These counterfeit goods (which include a lot of pharmaceuticals, personal care and food products) affect the environmental, heath and food safety of the local population but also the interest of many industries. A series of programs have therefore been organized by CLDP focusing on improving skills and knowledge of officials involved in enforcement of IP including the judiciary, but also customs officials and prosecutors/police, facilitating internal cooperation among agencies but also cooperation at the border among law enforcement entities in West Africa. Please click here to learn more about CLDP's current programs in Mali.


From July 2000 through December 2002, CLDP provided technical assistance and training to the Government of Nigeria to support efforts to establish a legal framework for the private sector, improve investor confidence, open markets, and help build democratic institutions. Specific activities included support in five sectors: (1) intellectual property rights, (2) public procurement, (3) government ethics, (4) project finance, and (5) regulatory reform and administrative processes. In regards to intellectual property, the program increased skill and knowledge level of Nigerian IP officials, lawyers, and judges and assisted in the drafting of TRIPS compliant trademarks, patents and design, and plant varieties legislation. Likewise, the program assisted in the development of a legal framework for the establishment of a new Public Procurement Commission (PPC) and created an internal manual of operational guidelines to the financial regulations.


CLDP initiated the first ever workshops of jurists from across West Africa together with representatives from regional intergovernmental organizations including- the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Laws in Africa (OHADA); the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA); and the African Development Bank, to bridge a longstanding Anglophone/Francophone and common-law/civil-law divide, work out conflicting jurisdictions and map a path towards legal integration for the sub-region.


CLDP worked with intra-regional ADR partners (including OHADA) in its development of an ADR program that sought to institutionalize the practice and use of ADR throughout West Africa and to ensure ADR services complied with internationally-accepted standards. As a result Nigeria established two multi-door courthouses and Ghana sought to replicate Nigeria’s multi-door courthouse in its Commercial Court.


CLDP assisted jurists from across West Africa to produce a model investment law. The model investment law removes complicated and inequitable provisions found in older investment codes, places local and foreign investors on an equal footing, and includes provisions for transparency.


CLDP worked with the African Development Bank to establish the African Law Institute (ALI), an independent nongovernmental think-tank and resource center. ALI’s first research initiative focused on the promotion of a harmonized investment framework in Sub-Saharan Africa (utilizing the CLDP investment law as a foundation).


From 2007 through 2010, CLDP has assisted both individual countries and regional economic communities in Sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen their intellectual property protection. CLDP’s efforts have resulted, inter alia, in the following successes in West Africa:


CLDP conducted regional workshops in Nigeria for Ghanaian and Nigerian judges, and in Senegal for Senegalese, Togolese, Ivorien, Burkinabe, and Beninois judges, and in Mali, in order to build capacity and increase the skill and knowledge level of the judges on IP adjudication within the framework of the WTO TRIPS agreement and other international standards. These workshops resulted in increased informal communication between the judiciaries on IP cases, as well as the initiation of a compendium of judicial decisions on IP cases.


CLDP conducted a regional IP protection workshop in Ghana, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Delegates from the fifteen member states concluded that IP infringement, including counterfeiting and piracy, is an important regional economic development issue. Recommendations from the workshop have resulted in the following a commitment on the part of ECOWAS to develop a regional policy and guidelines for a more effective implementation and enforcement of IP rights in the West Africa region. Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria are in the nascent stages of establishing an Inter-Agency Task Force on IP matters within each Member State. These Task Forces shall be responsible for the harmonization of procedures on IP enforcement, provide timely exchange of information and coordinated responses to IP infringement at the national level. Please click here to learn more about CLDP's current programs in Regional IP Protection.

Countries and Regions