INTA Co-Hosts Virtual Customs Trainings in Southeast Africa

Published: April 21, 2021


Marius Schneider IPvocate Africa Legal Advisers Ltd. Ebene, Mauritius Anticounterfeiting Committee—Middle East and Africa Subcommittee

Surishta Chetamun IPvocate Africa Legal Advisers Ltd. Ebene, Mauritius

INTA, the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), and IPvocate Africa Legal Advisers collaborated recently to organize virtual customs trainings on how to detect counterfeits for 13 Southeast African countries and territories.

Customs officials from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, La Réunion (French overseas territory), Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, and Zambia participated in the events.

The trainings were conducted in English and French, from December 9 to 11, 2020, and March 17 and 18, 2021, respectively.

The idea for the regional virtual customs trainings was born after MRA and IPvocate Africa set up the first series of virtual trainings during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. The MRA, a training hub for East African countries, was convinced of the advantages of online training given the constraints imposed by the global pandemic.

Advantages to the use of online platforms to conduct customs training include convenience and cost-effectiveness. Rights holders are not required to send a representative to conduct a training on location. With a virtual session, customs officials from 13 countries were trained on how to distinguish between counterfeit and authentic products. It is very difficult to obtain the same level of participation otherwise, with low cost to the officials and the brand owners.

The virtual trainings in Africa are just one component of the advocacy work that INTA’s Anticounterfeiting Committee, Middle East and Africa Subcommittee is prioritizing in the region.

The Committee recently organized a six-part webcast series on “Enforcement of IP Rights in Africa,” to raise awareness of intellectual property enforcement issues in Africa. The paid webcast series provides an overview and regional insights and is available on demand for INTA members and non-members.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

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