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Thursday, November 30, 2017

An Electronic Dealer In Cameroon Says Majority of Electronics In The Market Are Fake

Linda Chungha has used a Chinese brand phone for two years. She goes to the Avenue Kennedy shopping center in Yaounde for a new battery. "The authentic battery costs FCFA4500. You can get a counterfeit at FCFA2000" a middleman tells her, offers to lead her to a shop that sells both authentic and fake electronics. He leads her to several shops.

They all claim fake batteries of the brand she needed sold out. She finally pays FCFA4000 for a supposedly authentic one. "Without my help, you would have bought a fake one at that price." he brags.

Sales of electronic appliances at Avenue Kennedy mirror the trade in electronics nationwide. Tadjeu Ernest, a mobile phone vendor in Yaounde says a majority of mobile phone, TV sets, earphones and other electronics sold in Cameroon are counterfeit. He says some of the copies of renowned trademarks look exactly like authentic products.

"You would have to look for special signs in order to tell the difference. Some vendors sell counterfeits cheaper, others at the same costs as authentic ones.

A majority of fake electronics come from Asia and the Middle East, predominantly from China and Dubai. Tadjeu points out however that "there are several trademarks which are not counterfeit but simply below standards. These are made for poor people.

Some companies do market segmentation; they produce different qualities at different prices to satisfy different classes of customers. We mix them with counterfeits."

Though there are no companies in Cameroon making substitutes of most imported electronics, the rise of counterfeits threatens investment in the sector. An example is the X-Net phone, the first mobile phone Made in Cameroon. It is yet to find its feet several years after its launch.

Another case is the importation of batteries from China that led to the gradual degradation of PILCAM Company that manufactured Hellessens batteries in Cameroon. Worse still, in May 2015, during a physical inspection of a container from China, Customs at the Douala port, found a consignment of counterfeit Hellessens batteries.

Citizens may prefer counterfeit and contraband products for their affordability, but their health and security risks cannot be undermined. They include electrocutions, fire-accidents, low tensions, short circuits among others.

Charles Booto a Ngon, General Manager of the Standards and Quality Agency in a recent media outing, said his institution has not been indifferent to the fact that Cameroon's electro technology sector is flooded with counterfeits.

The agency has among others, joined the International Electrotechnical Commission to ensure the inspection of goods that would enter Cameroon.

Via AllAfricanews