By Esther Banda
LILONGWE-(Maravipost)-African artists have ganged up to engage respective authorities to bring an end to rogue ideas of siphoning from the cultural reservoirs and reproducing masterpieces that mislead the fabric of history.
Malawian artist Limbani Kalilani, commonly known by his stage name as Taygrin – Nyau King said this on Thursday in his keynote address at the African Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation (AfrIPI) Project launch in Kampala, Uganda.
This project aims to safeguard intellectual property and ensure that all artists in Africa are adequately paid for their talent and hard work.
“For long our identities have been stolen, our ideas and fashion, among others. Rhythms have enriched other nations beyond the continent but with nothing to show monetary wise back home. It is undisputed that Africa is now the new frontier of the world in terms of art,” said Taygrin.
He added, “African culture is profound and unique, people have spoken a lot about Africa, how great our music is, dances, paintings, sculptures and poetry, just to mention a few. The truth of the matter is that we are unique but unfortunately words don’t pay debts.”
He further added, “we certainly need modern and efficient ways to make the Lions we create catch the game. I am happy to be here knowing we are embarking on a journey that will catch the game. Fortunately, on this day we speak not just words that can’t pay but we have an organization that will make sure that we are able to not just pay debts, but to be paid ourselves.
He told the conference also being followed virtually, that “your sacrifice is not in vein, but will make a huge difference in the lives of artists and that it is a stepping stone for great things to come and for others to build on.”
In his remarks, Ambassador and EU Head of Delegation in Uganda, Attillio Pacifici observed that building of a new partnership between the European Union and African is very necessary.
“Am truly convinced that building of the new partnership between the European Union and African in the field of intellectual property is more than ever necessary. This means we have to mobilize the full range of the European Union and members states’ institutions.
He added, “the success of the European Union and African development requires innovation and talent to take steps including adoption of strong systems for the protection of knowledge, creativity and innovation at both national and regional levels.”
Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the African Union Commission Albert Muchanga also noted that the project will greatly contribute to the growth and sustainable development of the economies through effective intellectual property rights protection.”
Uganda’s Trade and Industry Minister, who is also Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization and guest of honour, Mawine Diggs described intellectual property as a key factor in creating an environment in which innovation and creativity can generate future growth and prosperity through employment.
AfrIPI is an international cooperation project funded and directed by the European Union. It was co-founded and is being implemented by the European Intellectual Property Office – EUIPO and has a duration of five years starting from February 2020.