Ghana joins Geneva Act of WIPO’s Lisbon Agreement

Accra, Nov. 15, GNA - Ghana on November 3, 2021, deposited its Instrument of Accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications ("Geneva Act").

Mr Daren Tang, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Director General, welcomed Ghana’s accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications.

Information on the website of the WIPO website said the Instrument of Accession was deposited with WIPO Director General, Mr Daren Tang by Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, Ghana’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.

The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement will enter into force, with respect to Ghana, on February 3, 2022.

This accession will allow Ghana to protect its geographical indications under the Geneva Act, such as its emblematic “Bolga baskets”, its traditional “Dzomi red palm oil”, or the fine quality of “Ghana shea butter” and “Ghana cocoa”.

The Geneva Act, which entered into force on February 26, 2020, provides producers of quality products linked to origin, with faster and cheaper access to the international protection of their products’ distinctive designations.

It further develops the legal framework of the Lisbon System, which helps promote many globally marketed products such as, for example, Banano De Costa Rica, Champagne, Toscano (Olive Oil), or Bohemia Crystal.

The Geneva Act, which will cover 35 countries with Ghana, is designed to help ensure that producers of quality products linked to origin are able to protect the distinctive designations of their products in multiple jurisdictions, either as appellations of origin or geographical indications, through a single application with WIPO and the payment of one set of fees.

The Act, concluded in 2015, and the Lisbon Agreement, concluded in 1958, constitute together the “Lisbon System” for the international registration and protection of appellations of origin and geographical indications.

The Lisbon System, which will cover 56 countries with Ghana, provides protection for names that identify the geographic origin of products such as coffee, tea, fruits, cheese, wine, pottery, glass and cloth.

Mr Tang said, “I am pleased to welcome Ghana’s accession to the Geneva Act of WIPO’s Lisbon Agreement.”

He said these and thousands of other geographical indications help to drive growth, support local jobs and preserve traditional craftsmanship around the world.

The Director General said Ghana boosts several origin-linked goods that could greatly benefit today’s accession. 
“‘Bolga-Baskets’ -produced according to the long tradition and know-how in the Upper East region of Ghana are already in demand from consumers in Asia, Europe and North America, with over 100,000 baskets exported each year,” he said.

He said the emblematic Ghana Kente cloth, historically a symbol of royalty, was nowadays a source of income and employment for at least 20,0000 Ghanaians.

Mr Tang said today’s accession opened the door to further economic and social development in Ghana and WIPO looks forward to continuing their strong partnership with Ghana as it begins its GI journey.

Mr Dame said Ghana had in place rules to protect unique products as appellations of origins or geographical indications.

He said the accession to the Geneva Act had the potential to enhance the opportunities and protection of both agriculture and handicraft products at the national level, such as the Ekumfi Sugar Loaf Pineapple, Anlo Shallot and Savannah White Yam, as well as non-food GI products such as Bolga Basket, Ghana Kente and the Ghana Smock.

The Attorney-General said the potential to protect geographical indications in multiple countries through a single application as a result of the accession could improve the lives of many producers in the rural areas and communities.

“Products linked to origin in Ghana will be able to access many global markets and protect their unique reputation and quality. Ghana once again pledges its commitment to WIPO and looks forward to enhance collaboration,” he added.