The need for a robust and effective Pan African Quality Policy to drive the attainment of Africa’s development goals, which are closely aligned with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, has been emphasised by Nigeria.
Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Edet Sunday Akpan, made this call on behalf of the country while presenting a keynote address at the opening of a two-day consultative workshop for developing a Pan-African Quality Policy held recently at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
He noted that the need to develop a Pan-African Quality Policy was derived from AGENDA 2063 of the African Union: the blueprint and master plan for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse of the future.
Speaking on the Standardization and Quality Infrastructure experts from Central, North and West Africa, Mr Akpan stated that the presence of quality infrastructure was essential for a mutually beneficial, free movement of goods and services across national, regional and continental borders. These he said, are however contingent upon clear and approved quality policy documents at National, Regional and Continental levels for proper guidance.
The Permanent Secretary stated that Africa’s flagship programmes are technology based and futuristic in design against the background of the fourth industrial revolution, adding that the sustainability strongly depends on adherence to standards and quality.
Mr Akpan said the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement further emphasises the need for the development of a robust Pan-African Quality policy document to ensure synergy, reduce duplication of efforts, ensure harmonization of standards and conformity assessment procedures in order to position Africa towards becoming a dominant player in the global arena.
He disclosed that a draft Nigerian National Quality Policy document coordinated by his Ministry was awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council and enumerated Nigeria’s strides in the harmonization of standards and conformity assessment procedures within the Economic Community of West African States and the Continent under the auspices of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO).
Nigeria, he stated, was proud to host the consultative workshop on the draft of a Pan-African Quality Policy for West, North and Central Africa with the objective of harmonizing the outcomes with a similar workshop in Nairobi Kenya held on 22nd and 23rd July for East and Southern Africa.
Mr Akpan then requested the diligent contribution of the individual and collective expertise of the delegates in developing a robust and effective Pan-African Quality Policy document to position Africa.
In his remarks at the occasion, Chairperson of the Pan African Quality Infrastructure, Dr Hermogene Nsegimana, invited the experts from Central, North and West Africa to take ownership of the draft quality policy document to meet the aspirations of the continent in substantially increasing intra-African Trade as well as promoting greater competitiveness of made-in-Africa products with the rest of the world.
He expressed regret that it took about 27 years after the African Union resolution on the need for the development of a Pan African Quality Policy document.
However, he commended the massive representation by experts from member states of the AU, describing the coincidence of the workshop with the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement as timely.
Welcoming the participants earlier, Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mr Osita Aboloma, enumerated some of the quality infrastructure projects already delivered by his organisation.
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