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Alba Iulia
Monday, June 1, 2020

Battle over the brand: Who owns the Anakazi brand?

Economy Battle over the brand: Who owns the Anakazi brand?

Stanbic Bank Anakadzi banner
Stanbic Bank Anakadzi banner

A bitter fight over the ownership of the Anakazi brand name is almost getting nasty with a female focused organisation threatening to take to task Stanbic Bank Zambia over the use of the brand.

Over the last few years, Stanbic Bank has used the Anakazi banking platform as a vehicle towards targeting its financial support to women groups in Zambia but a row has broken out over the real owners of the brand.

It has emerged that an organisation called Anakazi Center for Women Empowerment and Development aka “Anakazi” has been branded as a business development organization supporting women in Zambia since December 2012.

The organisation has since approached Stanbic Bank requesting that the bank stops using the name or it partners with the organisation for its women support programmes.

However, Stanbic Bank has decided to add the letter to the Anakazi name and rebranded to Anakazdi which has now angered the Anakazi Center for Women Empowerment and Development who have called the move “deceptive” and “intellectual property theft”.

The organisation has since launched an online signature campaign to force Stanbic to drop the name and admit that it stole the name from an existing and legal entity.

“We support women through entrepreneurship training, mentorship, Access to finance and markets programs, and advocacy. Our online following has grown from 300 friends to over 200,000 women globally. While most Zambian NGOs rely on donor funding, Anakazi has worked from the ground up with no funding or corporate sponsorship. We are proud that we can support women with our own network resources,” it said.

“While we are absolutely flattered that Stanbic Bank chose to adopt the name “ANAKAZI” for its women empowerment program, “Anakazi Banking,” we were disappointed to learn that the bank’s empowerment program was very similar to ours. Our missions and activities are similar, the only difference being that we are not a bank,” it added.

“We also learnt that the Zambian Trademark laws do not protect descriptive words in both English and the 73 local languages. Understandably, a word like “woman” cannot be protected but when this restriction extends to all 73 Zambian dialects, we are left with a moral dilemma to do the right thing when faced with a decision to pick the same name as an existing brand empowering women through business development such as Anakazi (women).”

It says, “even though Stanbic Bank can legally claim use of the word “Anakazi,” it does not make it morally right when a known grassroot brand exists. A simple google search would have revealed that a similar development program named Anakazi exists. The Stanbic leadership chose to ignore this fact even after we formally communicated our concerns of confusion in the market.”

The orgnanisation stated that the thousands of women in its network believed we had partnered with the bank.

“We believe the bank is using corporate power to bully a grassroot organization for its goodwill in the Zambian market. The bank could have picked any other name which means women from the 72 other dialects, so why Anakazi? Again, we are flattered. In other countries such as India such matters have been settled in court and the law has favored those who can prove long term use of a name or phrase. In our case, Anakazi has been a household name for the past 5 years.”

“However, we do acknowledge that a few days ago, Stanbic Bank announced that the women empowerment program, is “evolving” from “ANAKAZI” to “ANAKADZI,” a good move but adding a “D” to Anakazi is not evolving but tweaking. It is deceptive,” it said.

The organisation is now asking Stanbic Bank to innovate by picking a befitting name for their program.

“Stanbic Bank has a moral obligation to practice what they preach. If the bank claims to empower women in business, they should walk the talk not just financially but ethically. Anakazi is a grassroot organization, using the same name for similar activities is promoting unfair competition,” it said.

“Many individuals have also complained about banks and other institutions unlawfully taking proposals/concepts and making them their own. This is not the type of business environment we should be promoting for the women we serve. We must protect innovation which we have learnt in the past 6 years to be lacking among our budding women entrepreneurs. As such, we hold the bank and its leadership to a much higher standard. As a highly established financial institution it is unacceptable to bully an indigenous Zambian organization that has worked from the ground up to build a brand,” it said.

“Anakazi strongly believes in collaboration not copying or thriving on existing intellectual property. We teach our women to innovate, own their ideas through hard work and integrity! That’s the kind of empowerment we are promoting.”

The organisation says it will soon present a collection of signature from an online petition it is undertaking to Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Officer Charles Mudiwa.
Stanbic Bank was not immediately available for a comment but a statement posted on its website describes Anakazi Banking as a tool for serving the unique and sadly often unrecognized financial needs of a modern women.

“Never before has the need for women to juggle so many roles been as pressing as it is today. Today’s woman is a strategist, a wife, a student, a Manager, a Mother, a professional and all the while handling, with grace, everything that life throws at her. Anakazi Banking acknowledges these facts and brings you the banking experience that every woman deserves,” the statement said.

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  1. People are too lazy in these big offices, let’s not discount that fact. Let the bank simply find another name for its product.

  2. Free advice to Stanbic,change your brand name to ‘Azimai’ banking platform. C’mon let us think outside the box.

  3. This is no issue. Anakazi or Anakadzi means women. Can any one honestly own copyright to a name like woman a common noun. And this women organisation and Stanbic branding is very different. Their business is equally different. Does the women group lose business because of Stanbic Anakadzi brand? Let whoever is aggrieved go to court for arbitration.

    • Branding is supposed to be original. Anakazi is not original its is a common noun for women in Chinyanja. Its very difficult to patent it

  4. Its a tricky situation, i work in a trademark division outside zambia. Just like the writer has indicated, it has to do with, the said bank doing the right think. Think outside the box. The owners cannot go to courts bcoz they may not be able to present tangible evidence that they are losing business bcos of that. Oso, they are not the originator of the word, hence, they DO NOT HAVE exclusive rights. Are we together ! You need to have IP knowledge to understand this, ili tricky khani iyee ya anakazi

  5. I understand what the trademark laws state but it’s silly for the bank to be holding on to a name. This is a fight over egos and not a name.

  6. To boffins like Amagenge, please note this is not a legal issue. It’s a moral issue. Both the name and business model are the same, or similar, by the way.
    Stanbic’s claim is that it empowers women. Let the bank walk the talk.

  7. The best solution is for Stanbik to apologize and agree to partner with the original ANAKAZI, afterall they are all serving the same demographic!

    • kwi my bank to apologise to those non entities. It can’t never! it’s Anakadzi after all. let them change to umusimbi or mantombazana

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