Kenya fights counterfeits, illicit trade

Monday June 22 2020

Counterfeit goods have cost the Kenyan economy over $100 million in revenue. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Kenya recently rolled out the National Illicit Trade Observatory, a tool for monitoring illicit trade in the country, as the country is getting ready for public input on the Intellectual Property Bill 2020.

The observatory tracks six types of illicit trade — counterfeit, piracy, substandard goods, uncustomed goods, restricted goods, and unexcised goods.

“There is the Intellectual Property Draft Bill 2020, which proposes a merger of government institutions tasked with promotion and protection of Intellectual Property in the country to form the Intellectual Property Office of Kenya, an umbrella government agency that will deal with registration, custody and enforcement of IP in Kenya,” said Elema Halake, the executive director of the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA), on the World Anti-Counterfeit Day on June 10.

The ACA also released findings of a National Baseline Survey, conducted between October 2019 and February 2020, showing that the building, mining and construction sectors were the hardest hit by counterfeits in the past year, and counterfeiting cost the country over $100 million in revenue.

Of the 16 sectors of the economy covered, building, mining and construction contributed 23.3 per cent in value of total illicit trade, followed by energy, electrical and electronics at 14.67 per cent.

The sector with the most government revenue loss was food, beverage and non-alcoholic drinks at 23.19 per cent, followed by textile and apparel at 20.09 per cent.


According to the ACA’s findings, 30 per cent of the firms were aware that their products were being counterfeited.

Counterfeiting costs the country more than 32.5 per cent of jobs in the year 2018-2019, while companies recorded sales losses of between 37.6 per cent and 42.1 per cent. The study was done in partnership with Trade Mark East Africa through funding from the Department for International Development.