Thursday, 11 March 2010

Tanzania: US Hails Region's Fight Against Couterfeited Trade

"We have been impressed over the last few years to see East African Community member countries and the EAC itself making strides to improve laws and mechanisms, increase resources and promote regional cooperation to fight the vice [Counterfeiting]," The US ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Alfonso Lenhardt also said ".. for 2010 alone the US has committed over 1.1bn/- for intellectual property rights enforcement training through out sub-Saharan Africa."(

Afro Leo is excited about the progress in the EAC but there will undoubtedly be critics and cynicism around the US funding because, as the argument typically goes, it fosters IPR protection of US proprietary rights and interests. In other words the funding is self preserving. Whilst the US has an interest in ensuring that its IPRs are adequately enforced, Africa's own IP creators share that interest too as illustrated by this comment:

"when he [the US Ambassador] arrived in Tanzania he attended a concert by one of Tanzania music stars and asked her where he could purchase a legitimate recording of her music. She replied that the stores selling her music in Dar es Salaam only offered pirated discs."

On a related but different topic, have you ever wondered which countries would rank in world's top 10 counterfeit capitals? Answers will be published tomorrow. Hint, only two are in Africa.

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