Kenya hosts African Standard regulators

State Department for Industry PS Juma Mukhwana/COURTESY
State Department for Industry PS Juma Mukhwana/COURTESY

Africa’s accreditation and standard regulators began a five-day meeting in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, Monday, to discuss ways of boosting cross-border trade through harmonization of standards of goods produced in the continent.

The event brought together more than 100 delegates from accreditation and standard regulators across Africa to review ways to roll out the mutual recognition of product standards in the continent.

In his opening remarks during the 14th General Assembly and Meetings of African Accreditation Cooperation, Juma Mukhwana, principal secretary in Kenya’s State Department for Industry, said that the existence of different product standards in Africa is one of the key impediments to intra-Africa trade. “A unified product standards regime will foster trust in products made in Africa and facilitate trade not only within our borders but across the continent.”

Celestine Okanya, director general of Nigeria National Accreditation System, revealed that the continent has prioritized the harmonization of product standards in the region because it will enable enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to participate actively in the African Continental Free Trade Area and contribute to the economic transformation of the region.

Okanya added that joint product standards will be the catalyst that ensures the quality and safety of the products and services that flow within the expanded African market.

Mpho Phaloane, acting chief executive officer of the South African National Accreditation System, observed that the African quality policy, which aims at enhancing the quality of standards of goods produced in the continent will also strengthen the competitiveness of the continent’s products. He said that consistent product standards will lead to better integration into regional and international value chains that enhance trade and ensure sustainable development for the continent as a whole.

Robin Neeren Gopee, director of the Mauritius Accreditation Service, said that coordinated product standards will enhance Africa’s competitiveness by offering proof that products and services adhere to the requirements of consumers, governments, and trade treaties.

The development of product standards in Africa on a mutual recognition arrangement is a growth point as the mutual evaluation and acceptance of each other’s goods and services is based on agreed standards and quality, he said, adding that the alignment with international standards and recommended practices will also enhance the mobility of goods and services across borders.

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