Japan, Nigeria Team Up to Fight Counterfeits

While speaking at the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday, Japanese External Trade Commissioner Taku Miyazaki announced plans for the government of Japan to cooperate with the government of Nigeria to address the issue of counterfeit products. According to Mr. Miyazaki, the cooperation will be focused on boosting the capacity of personnel at government agencies to be better prepared to identify substandard and counterfeit products. Through better knowledge amongst enforcement officials of what is and what is not a counterfeit product, Miyazaki hopes to promote economic growth and sustainable development in Nigeria.
Nigeria faces a large and growing threat to its people and economy from counterfeit goods. The Standard Organization of Nigeria reported that since 2000, over one million Nigerians working in the textile industry have lost their jobs due to the activity of counterfeiters. Additionally, it is estimated that Nigeria loses nearly $42 million a year due to the sale of counterfeits.
This cooperation with the Japanese government can potentially have great effects for the protection of intellectual property rights in Nigeria. According to the International Property Rights IndexJapan has a very strong record of intellectual property rights protection, scoring 8.58/10. Nigeria on the other hand scores rather poorly, at 3.90/10.
The protection of intellectual property rights are a key prerequisite for economic development. Without these protections, rights holders are wary of investment into an economy. Through this cooperation, Nigeria can seek to learn what makes intellectual property protection so important, and learn from the Japanese effective ways to enforce these rights.
Photo Credit: Pedro Szekely