In November 2019, Stephen Hollis (partner, Adams & Adams) and Menzi Maboyi (Africa Practice Manager) travelled to Monrovia to attend the ARIPO Admin Council Meeting. They also visited our Associate Office as well as the offices of the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO). As LIPO was hosting the 43rd ARIPO Administrative Council Meeting in Margibi County, which was some distance from Monrovia, the Director General of Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO), Honourable Atty. Adelyn Cooper, was unable to meet with us at the LIPO offices, but in her opening address to the Administrative Council she was able to outline the plans of LIPO as Liberia assumed the position of Chair of the ARIPO Administrative Council for a two year term. The LIPO representatives that we met at the LIPO offices were able to discuss various aspects of the Registry’s operations and highlighted operational and administrative issues being faced by LIPO. We were also able to highlight the issues being experienced by IP practitioners which LIPO was working to resolve.
KEY OPPORTUNITIES & CONCERNS
- The country is again safe for foreign investment and the Weah administration is actively seeking investors
- Fertile farmland can be exploited for agricultural exports, including timber forests
- Liberian companies have been side-lined in the economy, though government is assisting their growth
- Education levels remain low, effecting worker productivity
- Reflecting the destruction of civil war and the Ebola outbreak, Liberia ranks a low 176 out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index
- Infrastructure is in dire need of rehabilitation after decades of neglect due to lack of financing