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AU, AFRIMA Back Intellectual Property Rights

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Stakeholders and artistes in the creative/entertainment industry will
heave a sigh of relief as the African Union is set to implement policies of its Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO).
This was disclosed on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, by the Head of Culture
Division, African Union Commission, Ms. Angela Martins, during the
AUC/AFRIMA Joint  conference which held in Banjul, Gambia to discuss and
proffer solutions to the challenges facing the African Music Industry.
The 26th Assembly of the African Union established PAIPO in January
2016.
The conference, which was part of activities marking the 10th
anniversary of the AU Youth Charter, had the theme, “Using Music,
Culture and Entertainment as tools for a new Africa.
In a keynote address, Martins maintained that PAIPO is one of AU’s
continental tools to help protect and promote not only the rich African
culture but intellectual works of talented artistes on the continent.
This, she observed, will help them attain global heights.
She said, “The mandate of the African Union is related to the
development of continental policies in the various developmental
sectors.  The continental policies of the Culture Division include, the
Charter for African Cultural Renaissance (adopted by the AU Assembly in
Khartoum in January 2006, also celebrating 10 years this year but not
yet in force).

“The African Union Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries of
2008 and the most recent AU Framework for Development— the African Union
Agenda 2063 which has a strong component on culture and heritage issues.
“Another continental tool is the adoption by the 26th Assembly of the
African Union in January 2016 of the establishment of the Pan-African
Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO). This achievement is worth
noting because it is aimed at playing a greater role in the protection
of the work of artists in line with the work the AFRIMA is doing for the
promotion of African artistes.”

Martins eulogised the activities of AFRIMA and its stance on promoting
culture through music and recognition of talents on the continent.
“The African Union Commission cherishes the collaboration it has with
Pan-African Cultural Institutions like AFRIMA since they partner with
the AU Member States in the implementation of continental policies in
this case in the areas of arts, culture and heritage.  Our
collaboration with AFRIMA started in 2014. And we have since witnessed
two editions of the All Africa Music Awards (in 2014 and 2015) events
which recognised the value of African Artistes and promoted African
Music both in the continent and internationally.  The event showcases
the potential of African Music in contributing to continental
development through decent job creation for the youthful population of
the continent,” she said.

The AU representative also disclosed that partnering AFRIMA in its
continental policy implementation has placed African music and talents
on a global pedestal, a move that has helped boost job creation and
social development in the continent.

She said, “Our collaboration with AFRIMA started in 2014. And we have
since witnessed two editions of the All Africa Music Awards (in 2014 and
2015) events which recognised the value of African artistes and promoted
African music both in the continent and internationally.  The event
showcases the potential of African Music in contributing to continental
development through decent job creation for the youthful population of
the continent.”

However, the economic power of culture and African music must be
harnessed. This was highlighted in a paper presentation by Managing
Director, Now Muzik, Mr. Efe Omoregbe.
According to him, the rich African cultural heritage, awe-inspiring
totems, mind-blowing music, and exciting dance moves must be explored in
order to allow growth in the continent’ economies and deliver wealth to
the people.
Omoregbe highlighted challenges to be: the laws and the Regulatory
Environment; Infrastructure and Facilities; Education and Training of
practitioners and policy makers, and having an effective system for the
collective management of Copyright.
Pointing out light in a dark tunnel, Efe noted that these challenges are
surmountable as long as policy makers are determined to effect a change.

Also delivering a paper at the conference was the Regional Director for
North Africa, AFRIMA, Mr. Brahim El Hazned.

Noting the vital role music plays in any nation’s development, he said
music, as a catalyst for personal and societal change, can be utilised
as a framework for self-representation and a source of oral history and
local knowledge. Music also helps in public education and community
mobilization.

He did highlight challenges of the music industry as globalization;
financial crisis; the reform of business in the music industry;
technological innovations; powerful competition and a multiple and
evolving expectations of informed and demanding consumers.
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El Hazned noted that a change would be experienced through the
involvement and impact of both the local and international media—radio,
television and the Internet.
He also pointed out that other agents of change, who can make impacts,
as international non-profit organizations and state/local governments.
“These are who will organise and be in involved Arts-based public sector
programmes and the governments can make policies that will help boost
the arts,” he said.
Other panelists/discussants in attendance at the conference were the Director, Sponsorship &Communications AFRIMA, Matlou Tsotsei (South Africa); the Executive Director, National Youth Council (The Gambia) Lamin Darboe; Media Executive, Ms Cordelia Okpei (Nigeria) and  Laolu Akins(Nigeria). Also, airing their views as panelists were the 2015 AFRIMA winners which included Stonebwoy (Ghana); Mv’vula (Angola) Adekunle Gold (Nigeria) and Stanley Enow (Cameroon).

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