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A KOICA team visited the Republic of Zimbabwe from August 22 to 26, 2016, for the purpose of doing an end of project evaluation of “The Project for the Upgrade and Modernization of the ICT Infrastructure of the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (ZIPO), African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and its Member States”. The team comprised of two KOICA evaluators, Professor Ho-yeol KWON and Mr. Chul-hee LEE.

The evaluation team held meetings with the management and staff of ARIPO, ZIPO and various stakeholders who included trademark and patent agents, to measure the performance of the project, check the actual system and equipment installation status compared to the project plan and evaluate the necessity for potential follow up projects.

The project was launched in 2013 with the goal being to upgrade and modernize ICT infrastructure of ARIPO and that of the 19 national patent offices of the Member States. The overall objectives include enhancing efficiency in business processing and other IP administrative work between the ARIPO Office and its Member States, the facilitation of accessibility of intellectual property information and the strengthening of ICT institutional capacity in the ARIPO region and beyond.

The project focused on upgrading ARIPO’s IP administration system, development of a member states’ module for online electronic data communication with the upgraded IP administration system of the ARIPO Office and those of its Member States and the development and provision of online services to users and the public at large.

The project has been a success and some of the benefits of the project to date include reduction of paper records in IP file processing, elimination of duplicate records and processes across the ARIPO region, substantial productivity and efficiency gains amongst ARIPO stakeholders, significant savings on time and money and improved service to stakeholders.