Improving consumer protection in Africa
16 Dec 2014
CI has published three research reports investigating the current levels of consumer protection in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.
Delivered through CI’s partnership project with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the research was conducted alongside three CI Members from the Africa region: Consumer Advocacy Centre (CAC), Ghana; Consumer Awareness Organisation (CAO), Nigeria and Association for the Defence of Consumers and the Environment (ADEC) in Senegal.
In addition to conducting research into the state of consumer protection, the project partners also launched multimedia advocacy campaigns to raise consumer awareness and influence, through public policy and practices. For instance, in Ghana, CAC played a critical role in advancing the development and subsequent adoption of a consumer protection policy and legislation.
Two of the reports focus on consumer protection within the mobile telecommunications industry in Ghana and Nigeria, whilst the third looks at consumer protection in Senegal’s public health sector.
All three reports identify some worrying trends.
In a continent experiencing rapid evolution and innovation, many African consumers are not aware of the laws, or channels of redress that protect them in their daily transactions.
The laws, the reports finds, are outdated, basic and do not convey the needs of those whose rights they are protecting.
Each report proposes a series of recommendations and solutions relevant to each region, including:
- A re-launch of co-ordinated national consumer policy in Senegal, with public authorities and market actors working together;
- Tackling fraudulent activity in Ghana’s telecoms industry using top-down and bottom-up approaches; for example using consumer forums and developing advocacy plans;
- Coordinating effective consumer protection response with state decision makers, businesses and citizens;
- Increasing and improving awareness creation to achieve an appreciable level of consumer protection in Nigeria.
The OSIWA project is an 18-month initiative aiming to improve capacity building of consumer organisations, whilst mobilising consumers to learn of their legal rights, so that they can become agents of change in promoting consumer protection.
Read more about the project.
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