Kenya Top Stories


Kenya, Tanzania join efforts to fight illicit trade and Customs authorities at border points

Dr. Robi Mbugua Njoroge, Excecutive Director Anti-Counterfeit Authority, Kenya. Photo: Benard Mulwa

By Benard Mulwa
Anti-Counter Authority of Kenya and Fair Competition Commission of Tanzania has joined efforts to Increase Cooperation and Inter-Agency collaborations between different agencies mandated to fight illicit trade and Customs authorities at border points. The aim of this effort is to facilitate rapid exchange of information between Agencies and enhance enforcement through joint investigations, risk profiling, and intelligence sharing among others.
This comes as the Director General FCC Mr. William Erio visited Kenya as deliberated in last meeting in Tanzania to deliberate, enlighten and inform the public on matters relating to counterfeiting, combat counterfeiting, trade and other dealings in counterfeit goods, devise and promote training programs to combat counterfeiting and co-ordinate with national, regional or international organizations involved in combating counterfeiting.
Kenya and Tanzania have been strategic and indispensable partners since pre-independence days and Pan African Renaissance having gained independence in 1963.
The two country occupy a strategic geographical location serving and facilitating transit and transshipment of cargo to the greater Eastern and Central Africa hinterland through Mombasa and Dar-Salaam Port both being the greatest gateways and entrance into the greater East and Central African region.
Kenya like Tanzania has strong trade linkages and regional economic connectivity. We are members of EAC and COMESA and very importantly our countries are members of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that will create the largest free trade area in the world.
At the international level, we fall under the corporation roof of WIPO and resultant TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization, the Paris Convention, Berne Convention, Rome Convention, WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty among other shared conventions.
As the top East African powerhouses our bilateral traded stands at Sh90 billion characterized by a very vibrant cross border trade taking place using the Border points;
Namanga: Located approximately 170 kilometers southeast of Nairobi, Isebania: Situated in western Kenya, near Lake Victoria, Loitokitok in southern Kenya, near Mount Kilimanjaro, Holili near the Tsavo West National Park and Lunga Lunga located in southeastern Kenya, near the Indian Ocean, the Airports, and the Indian Ocean including the Lake Victoria.
The shocking truth is that the value of counterfeit and illicit trade goods runs into billions of dollars globally. The global scale is said to represent between 5 and 7% of world trade. This is an alarming figure dangerous enough to easily upset the world economic equilibrium.
In Kenya Illicit trade including counterfeiting, smuggling, substandard, unaccustomed grew from KSH 700B in 2028 to KSH 850Bin 2019.
Counterfeit trade led other forms of illicit trade and was valued at KSH 80Billion to KSH 100 B annually. That is approximately the value of trade between Kenya and Tanzania.
Going by the growing nature of the crime and by statistical extrapolation, the value of illicit trade could have reached the KS I Trillion this year.
Dr. Robi Mbugua Njoroge, Excecutive Director Anti-Counterfeit Authority said, Industries have become the direct target. FMC goods industries dealing with sugar, food and beverages lose market share and big investments posing the risk of economic drainage to a country adding that organized criminal networks control the counterfeiting and illicit activities. No government in the world should condone such criminal activities run by mafias, terror groups or sympathizers and other underground elements,
“It dampens the spirit of investors. Intellectual property theft stifles innovation and deters honest entrepreneurs from investing in product and market development, adding that It causes revenue losses to governments. This deprives governments of revenues needed for the country’s infrastructure and other priorities.
This trade threatens the lives of consumers. Medicines, surgical equipment, food, apparel, soft drinks, cigarettes, electrical appliances, boda boda spares, aircraft and vehicle parts are all affected and all particularly affect lives of people.
The challenge of increased volume of imported cargo. Based on performance report of the Kenya Ports Authority for 2021; the Port witnessed increased volumes in container traffic registering 389,515 twenty foot equivalent units (Teus) making it increasingly hard for container profiling and verification while at the same time implementing ease of doing business trade policies.
The challenge of illegal consignments concealed in legal consignments. They are bringing consolidated cargo with unbranded products and labels in different consignments using fraudulent documents.
Generally; Most of our front line officers in border management suffer from a lack of awareness, training, effective enforcement and inter-agency cooperation.
The challenge of corruption and our porous borders/ panya routes unauthorized entry and border integrity.
The Excecutive Director Anti-Counterfeit Authority observed that there is need for review of laws and regulations both at country level as well as at the regional level to ensure appropriate level of punishment for effective deterrence.

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