It has a membership of 188 countries with headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland and five regional Offices located in Moscow-Russia (Europe); Tokyo-Japan, Beijing-China, Singapore-Philippines (Asia); and Rio de Janeirio-Brazil (South America).
Following an intra-African election held at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) headquarters, Geneva on August 4, 2016 Nigeria won the bid to host the first Africa Regional Office of WIPO, alongside Algeria.Nigeria and Algeria emerged winners to host the two WIPO Africa Offices by 33 and 29 votes respectively.
The Highly contested bid had other country like Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia who also bided to host the offices. The two offices are to be established within the 2016/17 biennium; meanwhile all formalities will be completed in October 2016.
The WIPO Office in Nigeria will among others, position Africa to make better use of specific fit-for-purpose WIPO services to strengthen Nigeria/ Africa's creative and innovative sectors; add value to efforts towards the evolution of an International Normative Framework for IP; enhance participation in the Global IP Services; facilitate international cooperation on Building respect for IP; strengthen the interface between IP in relation to Global Policy Issues in the country; as well as facilitate the implementation of relevant development agenda recommendations of United Nations System.
Mr. Ezekude who stated this recently in Abuja, noted that the Nigerian Copyright Commission on behalf of Nigeria made the first written African Request to WIPO. He also Added that in 2015, working in collaboration with Nigeria’s Permanent Mission in Geneva, A comprehensive formal bid was submitted to WIPO in line with the WIPO adopted guiding principles for the establishment of WIPO external Offices.
According to him, the presence of the WIPO office in Nigeria will also raise Africa's IP profile and make Nigeria a force to be reckoned with in terms IP protection and administration internationally. It will also make it easier for the Commission to draw from WIPO's resource to further advance the fight against piracy. Speaking further on the gains that will accrue to the country, he said it will raise the Copyright Commission's and the creative industries profile in terms of the Federal Government's policy prioritisation especially in the areas of funding and Legislation to better manage the creative sector and fight piracy and other IP abuses.
He emphasised that the success of Nigeria's bid is a clear indication of its rising profile and fast growing culture based and creative industries which are some of the fastest growing in the global economy. The Nigerian Film industry is currently rated as the largest in Africa and the second largest in the world in terms of output.
The Director-General also noted that Nigerian music, film, literature and art resonates across Africa and around the world, facilitating a cumulative annual output of approximately $2 Billion across film, music, Performing Arts, Fashion, Visual Arts, Advertising, TV and Broadcast, Arts and Antique, and Publishing- the total of which contributes not less than 1.42% to the country's GDP.
Mary A. Adegbile