[Kenya Business Week] Unity of purpose in war on counterfeits
Each year counterfeit goods cost the Kenyan economy $300 million in a well-oiled illicit trade that has not only taken away the citizen’s right to quality and genuine products, but also put their lives at great risk by infiltrating their markets with substandard and, in many cases, highly dangerous goods.
Experts have called for a review of existing laws to criminalize and impose heavy penalties on culprits.
One of the hardest hit sectors is agriculture. Agrochemicals Association of Kenya says that Kenya is losing at least $1.2 billion in revenue to unregistered agro-chemicals dealers and counterfeit pesticides.
Kenya has therefore stepped up its resolve to win this war. Manufacturers who have also been hardest hit have, through their umbrella body The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) urged COMESA to consider establishing an institution to deal with counterfeits and dumping in the regional market.
In the tech space, Microsoft’s latest mobile offering, Kaizala Pro, a mobile app that improves the way businesses communicate and collaborate, has been launched in Kenya. This marks the latest forays by the multinational technology company in the country. It has previously invested in cloud computing, getting more girls into science and tech projects and investing in female graduates among other initiatives.
Liquid Telecom Kenya this week also announced it has partnered with IoT service provider Sigfox to roll out the Internet of Things (IoT) network across Kenya that will cover up to 85% of the Kenyan population. Ths as it also celebrates major investments across churches, E-Sports, opening of analytics center and Optical Ground Wire fibre cable to expand internet connection in Kenya.
Safaricom is in the process of developing a framework that will deal with the sim card swap fraud. This comes after ongoing sim card fraud that plagued users in the country in recent months. It has invested previously on voice biometrics to enhance customer experience.
Europe’s transformative digital lunch scheme provider Apptivate Africa has announced plans to sign in more companies across Africa after a successful two-year test run in Kenya. Previously known as Sodexo Kenya, the company has been working with over 60 companies in a digital lunch scheme to boost staff productivity.
Kenya has challenged the African continent to speak with one voice at global ICT decision-making forums. ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru cited lack of a common stand on issues of interest as having hurt the continent in the past, slowing the pace of ICT development. This, as the country guns for top elective posts in the most powerful continental and global telecommunication bodies.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has witnessed the signing of an MOU between the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) for the revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line.
In the agriculture front, maize flour prices in Kenya have dipped to a six-year low on increased supply of cheap grains from Uganda and harvests in western region, easing inflationary pressure.
South Africa’s government has announced that it has lifted the decade-long ban on the importation of avocado fruits from Kenya.