On the other side, operating from Uganda, ACN Africa works to bridge intervention gaps between those who affect and/or are being affected by counterfeits, substandard goods or services, illicit trade and parallel trading.
The organization achieves this by championing provision of robust interventions to mitigate the prevalence of counterfeit practices in Africa through research, legal action, technology and communication for mindset change.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, ACA’s Executive Director Dr. Robi Mbugua Njoroge said the MoU represents a statement of mutual intentions between the two institutions focusing on developing and strengthening a robust Intellectual Property system in the region.
“Theft of intellectual property or counterfeit trade promotes an environment of unfair trade that is rigged in favor of the counterfeiter and not any of our innovative people in our countries. While we may experience a growing cross-border trade, what matters is not the trade index per se, but rather who benefits from the trade between our countries.
Our government and our people do not benefit. Only the criminal who lacks innovativeness and who does not contribute to our national revenue collection benefits,”Dr. Mbugua said.
He noted that East African Community governments have made great strides towards integrating their economies by establishing a free trade area as well as efforts towards a custom union and now working towards establishing a common market but noted these efforts are being hindered by illicit trade.
“Our economic development targets are hindered by the increasing forms of illicit trade including counterfeiting that is negatively impacting growth of fair cross border trade and regional industrialization.”
“We look forward to being strategic partners and leading advocates on legislative and regulatory issues addressing Intellectual Property (IP) infringement not in in Kenya but in the region.”
Anti-Counterfeit Network Africa Director for strategy, Kawesa Richard welcomed the initiative between the two institutions saying “Combating counterfeits in the region requires collaborative leadership and action.”
“Collaborative leadership would mean that individual ambitions of every mandate-holder or stakeholder in the IP value chain recognizes common risks, limitations and implications and seeks to work together to mitigate collective threats, increase opportunities and share best practices,” he added.
Emphasizing the importance of partnership across the region, Fred Muwema, the Director Legal at ACN Africa said, “ACA and ACN Africa deeply appreciate the magnitude of the counterfeit challenge at hand and have therefore agreed to cooperate in the areas of research, legal action, technology and communication for mindset change.”