Daily Archives: February 10, 2010

Africa as a dumping ground for counterfeit goods

I made a reference to black market Kiwi shoe polish in a previous post.

The current issue of the BBC magazine Focus on Africa contains a cover story, Copycats Go for the Kill:

“…recent research by ICF (International Climate Facility) found that in the East African Community $500 million in revenues from unpaid taxes was lost to counterfeit goods…”

The article cites cases of counterfeit toothpaste bearing the Unilever brand and suggests that 30% of medicines on sale are fake.  And a 2009 UN report revealed that:

“Revenues gained from 45 million counterfeit anti-malarial medicines were worth $438 million, greater than the GDP of Guinea-Bissau.”

One of the objectives of the ICF is to “secure property rights” throughout Africa, and I suspect that the definition of this goal has now been broadened to include IP.

Addressing the observation that Africa has become a dumping ground for counterfeit goods will require a general crackdown on corruption, new legislation and the strengthening of IPRs.  So this is a problem that will not be resolved without political will.

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP