The Kenyan government has in the past made strides towards fighting the insurgence of counterfeit phones in the country, the most notable move being the switching off of devices with unregistered IMEI numbers.
A report by Anti-Counterfeits Agency points out that counterfeit mobile phones are still a problem in Kenya. As per the report, 51.8% of all counterfeit products in the country are mobile phones. Other electric devices like DVD players also made it to the list with 26.4%. The agency also mentioned computer software, accessories and toners are among the highly counterfeited products.
These counterfeit phones have gone from cloning high-end brands like Apple and Samsung to creating knockoffs of budget smartphones and shamelessly counterfeiting feature phones as well.
But why are Kenyans buying fake phones among other items? Well, the Anti-Counterfeits Agency claims that 18.3% of people who own fake products had no idea the item was fake. There’s the 19% of Kenyans who knew what they were getting themselves into, another staggering 49.6% only bought the counterfeit products because they were cheap while 17.3% of buyers were looking for original items but could not find them and ended up buying the fakes.
“Whereas there is a market for cheap counterfeit goods, it is not easy for consumers to notice majority of these goods. Again, most are not displayed in shops but stored at home or in washrooms becoming a challenge for the agency to counter it,” said Anti-Counterfeits Agency chair, Flora Mutahi.
There’s a silver lining though as the report also indicates that counterfeit electronics in Kenya have declined to 66.61% from 79.7%.