IP theft, as evidenced by the global proliferation of counterfeit and pirate products, drains revenue and jobs and puts downward pressure on innovation, international trade and investment. As a result strong IP protection goes hand-in-hand with government policies encouraging investment in IP and exhibiting the significant benefits of IP to a country’s growth and development.
Value of IP in Kenya
Section one of the BASCAP report explores the benefits of IP protection in strengthening Kenya’s economy. BASCAP has assessed that enhancing intellectual property rights has the potential to drive innovation and technology, attract FDI, help firms monetize their inventions and grow, bolster small- and medium-sized enterprises, benefit consumers, and overall enhance society and culture.
Section two describes the risks associated with IP theft and their impact on the Kenyan economy. In Eastern Africa, Kenya is the biggest market for counterfeit and smuggled goods. Research suggests that the counterfeiting business in Kenya is worth Kshs. 70 billion (approximately US$835 million); and the Kenyan government loses about US$84 million in tax revenue to counterfeiting and piracy, funds which could be invested in public health infrastructure and education.
Key legislative and policy recommendations
Kenya has an advanced legal and institutional framework for IP protection, but deficient enforcement of existing IP legislation continues to be a serious challenge against curbing the flow of illegal products. BASCAP’s legislative recommendations focus heavily on improving the enforcement of current laws such as the Anti-Counterfeit Act (2008) and the Copyright Act (2001). Key policy recommendations tackle broader measures, actions and initiatives to support the specific implementation and enforcement of BASCAP’s IP legislative suggestions.