Kenya a top counterfeits market

What you need to know:

  • Contraband goods mainly from India and China.
  • Kenyan manufacturers are losing at least 40 per cent of their market share to fake imports.

Kenya is ranked among the largest markets for counterfeit goods in East Africa, and serves as the distribution point to the region.

This information — contained in a manual developed by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the Judiciary and other interested partners — shows that the contraband goods are mainly from India and China.

The manual that was launched by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga yesterday reveals that trade in counterfeits is now rivalling key foreign exchange earners such as tourism, tea and coffee.

“Networks of cross-border smugglers target fast-moving and highly profitable goods to import into Kenya illegally, including food, electronics, and cosmetics.

“Pharmaceuticals also form part of the list, with estimates revealing that more than 30 per cent of the total medicines sold in Kenya are counterfeit, and that about 40 per cent of all malaria drugs in the Kenyan market are counterfeits that may be harmful to users,” says the report.

This, the report says, has far reaching health implications on consumers and cannot be ignored, as they range from the upsurge of new illnesses to the non-curing or deterioration of illnesses and even death.

Dr Mutunga said Kenya’s efforts, including the protection of consumers by law, the enactment of new laws and the establishment of institutions to address the menace have not borne the desired results. He said the fragmented nature of laws makes it difficult to prosecute illicit trade cases.

“Institutions working to combat illicit trade have failed to collaborate in combining their efforts when discharging similar mandates.

“Corruption has taken root, affecting the prevention and prosecution of the trade and difficulties in accessing up-to-date and reliable data on illicit trade has made it impossible to fully understand the nature of the trade and so articulate ways through which it may by resolved,” said the CJ.

The chairman of Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Pradeep Paunrana, said a 2012 study on counterfeiting in Kenya estimates that Kenyan manufacturers are losing at least 40 per cent of their market share to counterfeiters.

Head of Malaria Control Programme Waqo Ejersa acknowledged the dangers of counterfeit drugs, such as resistance to treatment that hampers efforts to contain, say, malaria.

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