The New Times (Kigali)

East Africa: Regional Body to Fight Counterfeit Products

The five-member East African Community (EAC) has resolved to fight counterfeits jointly, a senior Kenyan government official said on Tuesday.

Minister of Industrialization Jeffa Kingi told journalists in Nairobi that due to the fact that the EAC adopted a Common Market Protocol in 2010 counterfeits products and trade can only be defeated through collaboration.

"The EAC countries have resolved to come up with strategies for formalizing the inter-agency approach at the EAC regional level,"

Kingi said in a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Industrialization Erastus Kimuri at the regional workshop on the implementation of an inter-agency approach to Intellectual Protection (IP) and enforcement.

Over 80 delegates from the region will establish an effective framework by which counterfeit goods can be eliminated from the EAC. EAC consists of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

Kingi said that IP rights have received global attention because of the role they play in innovation, industrial development and economic growth of any nation. The director of industrialization said that most of the value of new medicines and other high technology products lie in the amount of invention, innovation, research, design and testing involved.

"Films, music recordings, books, computer software and online services are bought and sold because of the information and creativity they contain," Kimuri said.

He noted that the aim of the joint approach is that all the agencies in the EAC work cooperate to combat the vice.

Kimuri added that Kenya alone has 12 agencies mandated to fight counterfeits products including the Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Copyright Board and Ministry of Trade Department of Weights and Measures. Anti Counterfeit Agency (ACA) Chairman Allan Kamau said that member states will sign an EAC protocol that will strengthen the fight against the vice.

Source: Xinhua

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