Hillary Muheebwa, writing for IP-Watch, reports from a recent WIPO training camp in Uganda that there is a renewed call for the protection of geographical indications and collective marks to make local products more valuable. The report also emphasises the need for SMEs to make use of Uganda's reputation in agribusiness to brand and enhance the value of their goods. The training program is one of many conducted by WIPO on the continent and aims at educating Africans on how to use intellectual property to create wealth.
"The objective of the Training of Trainers Program is to create a critical mass of trainers who have the basic knowledge, skills and experience to provide preliminary intellectual property assistance to entrepreneurs, students, and SMEs on effective IP asset management. This is to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the SMEs in the domestic and international markets."
It is notable from the article, which can be located here, that Uganda is facing structural problems in enabling some of the legislation that would facilitate the protection that SMEs require.
"Although Uganda has the Geographical Indications Act, 2013, the regulations to operationalise the act have not been passed, making it impossible to register geographical indications as of now."
These types of training programs are exactly what most, if not all, countries on the continent require. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for sentiment to be there, only for inadequate legislation or lack of reliable, inexpensive enforcement to hamper its effectiveness.