Life After WIPO: New Nigerian Foreign Minister Onyeama Puts Experience To Use 17/11/2015 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Former World Intellectual Property Organization Deputy Director General Geoffrey Onyeama has been named the new minister of foreign affairs of Nigeria. And according to Nigerian press reports, he plans to use IP and innovation to help Nigeria’s economy, and plans to support the new government’s high-profile efforts against corruption. Geoffrey Onyeama After nearly 30 years at WIPO, Onyeama ran unsuccessfully for WIPO director general in 2014. At WIPO, he had the backing of the 54-member African Union (IPW, WIPO, 3 February 2014). There have been a number of news reports from Nigeria in recent weeks stating that he was appointed foreign affairs minister despite being relatively unknown in the country after decades in Geneva and elsewhere. Intellectual Property Watch did not reach Onyeama for this story. One article gave an indication of Onyeama’s priorities for the new office, reflecting the new administration, including fighting corruption, boosting the economy, and improving relations within the region. A number of articles, such as this one and this one, lauded Onyeama’s experience, which includes having practiced law in Nigeria before going to WIPO. The reports say Onyeama, who has an extensive background including degrees from Columbia University, the London School of Economics, and Cambridge University, is well-connected at high levels in Nigeria. Apparently, as explained in this article and others, he has been a friend of the Nigerian president’s chief of staff since Cambridge. According to one article, Onyeama was quoted as saying the nation can use creativity, innovation and intellectual property rights to diversify and boost its economy. The article states: “Here are 5 notable quotes uttered by Onyeama. We need to reduce our dependency on crude oil and get creative. 2. Nigeria is literally and figuratively the giant of Africa. 3. The President has shown confidence in me, I won’t betray such confidence for whatever amount is put before me. 4. We can use intellectual property to leverage the science, agriculture and other sectors. We can use intellectual property to brand local products. 5. We need government to support the innovative sectors. The Universities must develop intellectual property.” Development Orientation In a 2014 interview (IPW, WIPO, 12 February 2014) with Intellectual Property Watch, Onyeama, who was WIPO DDG for the Development Sector, highlighted the importance of a development perspective and using intellectual property rights and WIPO as a means to address broader societal issues. One source speculated that the foreign affairs minister post makes him the third highest official in Nigeria, considered the largest country in Africa. Nigeria is chair of the African Group at WIPO. Image Credits: WIPO Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Life After WIPO: New Nigerian Foreign Minister Onyeama Puts Experience To Use" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.