Don’t Buy Fake
Wearing the latest popular brands like Nike, Converse, adidas, Puma, Guess and Vans etc. it’s a statement about you. You’re a fashionista, a trend setter, in-the-know, looking cool and trendy, you are right ‘up-there’, and your friends are envious of you!
So why not buy yourself that sought after pair of shoes or jeans? After all, brands are more expensive than unbranded equivalents, money is tight, and the temptation to buy fakes is huge. You find them on most street corners, flea markets and China Malls. What you need to know is that your purchase does have indirect consequences.
The SA garment industry and all peripheral industries have been affected by cheap Chinese imports and knock-offs. You might think you are helping the hawker make an honest living, I mean, at least they are not begging… not so true. Unbeknownst to you, there are a few scenarios here. Not only is your purchase affecting the SA economy but your purchase could indirectly benefit crime syndicates, helping to keep their illicit activities going.
Think twice before you part with your money.
Vigilance. The Visible. The Invisible.
The action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.
Africa and more importantly, South Africa has become a prime target for counterfeit goods dumping ground in the world. The highly visible influx of counterfeit goods, is occurring across the African continent. Items such as clothing, digital video discs (DVDs), compact discs (CDs), Play Station games, designer labels, computer software, footwear and pharmaceuticals, are sold across the continent.
The Visible; It seems harmless to buy a knock-off item; after all, the originals are out of reach for most who are longing for a real designer label.
The Invisible; sinister and more harmful than it appears. In fact, the global counterfeit trade market is more lucrative than the trade in illegal drugs. It’s estimated that the total global value of fake goods is more than US$ 1200 billion. This represented between 5% and 7% of world trade.
Huge Profits in the Illicit Trade
The increase in counterfeit goods represents a major threat to business and is also a key barrier to trade. The distribution of cheap and poor quality pirated goods in a market creates an obstruction to the distribution of genuine products. Some consequences to purchasing these items directly relates to the support of the trade of narcotics, weapons, terrorism, prostitution, human trafficking, human organs, gang warfare, money laundering and child labour are a few trades benefiting from our purchases. Greed drives the trade and can even control politics and the outcome of legitimate elections.
Impact on Africa
Africa is being used as a transit route for fake goods, which poses an indirect threat to European and American markets, too. A very high percentage of counterfeit shipments from China are destined for Africa, either directly or via ports such as Karachi, Dubai or Hong Kong, in an effort to reroute the products so that their country of origin can be disguised. Some reasons why Africa has become an attractive destination of choice for counterfeiters, include:
- the trade links between Africa and China, where most counterfeit goods originate from, are increasing;
- the continent’s porous borders, while outdated legislation and weak enforcement mechanisms have helped to facilitate the illicit trade across Africa;
• the reality that governments across the continent do no share information regarding fake goods; and
- the reality that with modest resources at their disposal, many Africans do not consider the trafficking in counterfeits a serious crime, and would therefore not hesitate to acquire a knock-off product.
Due to these factors, the issue is becoming increasingly serious and the continent is fast becoming ‘fair game’ for counterfeiters and it is hurting the continent’s population and economy.
Counterfeiters undermine innovation, which is a vital ingredient of entrepreneurship and economic growth. More importantly, in a state where counterfeiting is rampant, a country quickly gains a reputation as a safe haven for criminals, with dire consequences to the reputation of the particular country. Since Africa is the most underdeveloped continent, a poor reputation that deters investment is something the continent can ill afford. Counterfeit operations do not comply with government regulations, so there is a loss of customs and excise duties, corporate and personal tax revenue as well as higher costs for law enforcement and judicial proceedings.
Don’t Buy Fake
Buying fakes is not innocent, crime syndicates benefit on the trade in order to keep their illicit activities going. One can expect criminal syndicates strengthening their foothold across the continent. This means that governments will have to invest more in law enforcement, and in so doing divert much needed resources away from human development endeavours. Akin to this, comes the stifling of innovation and entrepreneurship, with a direct impact on economic development. Unemployment, and ultimately poverty, increases since only a few (hawkers and traders) benefit from the trade.
SA Government News: http://bit.ly/2n3Xlsz
Article on Fin24: http://bit.ly/2noodRp
Press Reader: http://bit.ly/2n3ZQvb
Counterfeit Goods Act: http://bit.ly/2n3IdeM