Further 17 African countries recognise Scotch GI

15th September, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

Taking lead from Botswana, a further 17 African countries have registered Scotch whisky as a product with geographical indication (GI) status in a landmark agreement.

Scotch-whisky-GI

Member countries of the Organisation Africaine de la Propriete Intellectuelle have registered Scotch whisky as a GI product

Botswana’s recognition of Scotch whisky as a GI product in July this year marked the first time that an African country had officially agreed to do so.

The 17 member countries of the Organisation Africaine de la Propriete Intellectuelle (OAPI) have now followed suit and registered Scotch whisky as a GI.

The Scotch Whisky Association understands that this is the first time the OAPI has recognised the GI status of any spirit drink, adding that this will offer a high level of legal protection against fakes across the market.

The OAPI makes up more than a fifth of the geographical area of Africa and has a population of more than 150 million people.

“This is a significant step forward in the protection of Scotch Whisky,” said Andrew Swift, legal counsel with the SWA. “OAPI covers a vast area with a growing population. “Demand for Scotch from countries in OAPI is growing. Between 2005 and 2014, Scotch exports to all OAPI countries increased by 275% to £13.6m from just under £5m.

“Geographical indication status is of great value to the Scotch whisky industry and ensures we have the tools we need to protect consumers and stop unfair competition.”

The OAPI agreed to recognise the GI of Scotch whisky following an application submitted by the SWA in January 2014, and with the support of the British High Commissioner to Cameroon, Brian Olley.

Scotch whisky’s GIU is now officially recognised in the laws of nearly 100 countries, including the whole of the European Union.

Under its GI, Scotch must be made in Scotland from water, cereals and yeast and matured for at least three years.

Countries in the OAPI that now recognise the GI of Scotch include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Republic of Congo, Senegal and Togo.

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