Geographical indications in the era of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

Titilayo Adebola* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The African Union (AU) introduced the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to reify its renewed resolution to promote Pan-Africanism and an African Renaissance. Following its adoption on 21 March 2018, the AfCFTA Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019. The AfCFTA officially commenced trading on 1 January 2021. As of 1 February 2022, 41 African countries had deposited their instruments of ratification with the AU.

The AfCFTA Secretariat is actively engaging in discussions and consultations to facilitate the drafting of the AfCFTA Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), which is scheduled to conclude during Phase II of its negotiations. As geographical indications (GIs) are one of the core categories of IPRs that can foster endogenous social and economic development in Africa, this article calls for the AfCFTA Protocol on IPRs and other related AU instruments on GIs to establish an informed common African position on GIs.

This contribution presents two central arguments. First, African GI ecosystems will thrive through the promotion of inclusive, sustainable and effective (ISE) regimes. Second, three factors will foster the realization of ISE regimes: (i) centring African needs and interests, (ii) coordinating the fragmented GI regimes around Africa and (iii) creative capacity building and training. Crucially, the AfCFTA Protocol on IPRs along with AU instruments on GIs will require concerted commitments of African stakeholders to succeed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748–760
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice
Issue number6
Early online date12 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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