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Counterfeit products rife in Africa electrical market, says survey

Counterfeiting of common electrical products, including cables and breakers, is widespread across Africa, according to a survey conducted by global energy management and automation company Schneider Electric.

The results of the study released on Monday indicate that counterfeiting of electrical products occurs in 40% to 80% of African markets.

The five most counterfeited products in rank include cables, breakers, sockets, switches and extension cords.

The results suggest that China is the main source of counterfeit electrical goods entering the continent followed by some other countries in Asia.

Counterfeit products manufactured locally have predominantly emerged out of Tanzania, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, said Tracy Garner, Anti-Counterfeiting Global Manager at Schneider.

The survey found that ABB, Hager, General Electric, Schneider, Legrand and Siemens are the brands experiencing the highest levels of intellectual property rights abuse in Africa.

Garner said: “For the first time, all stakeholders of the African electrical market will be able to move forward, based on a solid picture of reality.”

Surveying counterfeit electrical products

Schneider conducted the survey in 11 African countries: Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda from December 2013 through to March 2014.

Over 500 key personnel were approached by 37 African investigators answering a total of 8,185 questions, carried out over a four month period.

One question posed to the candidates was:

What are the main counterfeited electrical goods that you know of in your country?

graph 1
Schneider Electric graph depicting results of most counterfeited electrical products

A second question asked:

In the following list, what would you say are the most counterfeit brands?

Schneider electric survey
Schneider Electric graph illustrating most counterfeited electrical brands

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.