While the Madrid system in Africa may not function as effectively as it does in other parts of the world, there is certainly progress being made on implementing laws and streamlining procedures in some African countries. Zimbabwe has recently taken a positive step forward when, on 13 March 2017, regulations which give recognition to the Madrid Protocol were approved by parliament and published in the Government Gazette.

The Trade Marks (Madrid Protocol) Regulations, 2017 give effect to trade marks designating Zimbabwe under the Madrid Protocol, which will be deemed registered, as national trade marks, under the Zimbabwean Trade Marks Act (chapter 26:04).

Concerns still remain regarding the enforceability of the Madrid system in Africa, especially as many of the Registries do not yet have digital records and have not yet updated and improved their systems so as to comply with WIPO's strict deadlines for processing of applications. However, Zimbabwe appears set to overcome the first hurdle by properly implementing regulations to effectively deal with Madrid applications and reduce uncertainly regarding the recognition of International Registrations as having the same force and effect as national registrations.

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