By Miriam Humbe
The Pan-African Quality Policy is expected to provide the needed support for such flagship programmes of the African Union as, integrated High Speed Train Network, formulation of an African Commodities Strategy, enabling the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), the African Passport and Free Movement of People and Silencing the Guns By 2020.
Others include the implementation of the Grand Inga Dam Project, establishment of a Single African Air-Transport Market (SAATM), establishment of an Annual African Economic Forum, establishment of the African Financial Institutions Network, the Pan-African E-Network, Africa Outer Space Strategy, an African Virtual and E-University, Cyber Security and Great African Museum among others.
These were contained in a keynote address at the official opening of the consultative workshop on the development of the pan-African quality policy on Monday in Abuja by Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, (FMITI) who doubles as Chairman, Standards Council of Nigeria.
He said: “Against the background of the fourth Industrial Revolution, Africa’s flagship programmes are technology based and are futuristic in design. Their sustainability strongly depends on adherence to standards and quality.
“The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has also coordinated the drafting of a National Quality Policy document. This document is awaiting approval of the Federal Executive Council to provide necessary guidance and harmony to the various quality infrastructural projects being developed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as the organised private sector stakeholders.
“Thus, the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement by many nations in the African Continent further emphasises the need for the development of a Pan-African Quality policy document. This will ensure synergy, reduce duplication of efforts, ensure harmonisation of standards and conformity assessment procedures. It will also help the positioning of Africa to becoming a dominant player in the global arena.
“Nigeria through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has been playing an active role along with other stakeholders from the country in the harmonisation of standards and conformity assessment procedures within the ECOWAS region and the Continent through the platform of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO). The need to develop a Pan-African Quality Policy is derived from AGENDA 2063 of the African Union: the blueprint and master plan for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse of the future”.
In his welcome address, SON’s Director General/Chief Executive, Osita Anthony Aboloma Esq. said that SON has been actively involved in the harmonization of standards within the ECOWAS region and the African continent through the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) by setting up several National Mirror Committees to encourage the participation of stakeholders in Nigeria in the standards development and harmonization processes across the region and the continent.
Aboloma said: “Other preparatory steps we have taken towards the free movement of goods and services particularly within West Africa include, the development of Standards for artisanship such as carpentry, masonry, fashion design, painting among many others to ensure free exchange of the services.
“We are therefore most honoured to play a significant role in the efforts to develop a Pan-African Quality Policy by hosting this consultative workshop for Central, North and West African delegates as a follow up to a similar workshop held in Nairobi Kenya for Eastern and Southern Africa.
“Thus, the development of a Pan-African Quality Policy can only go further to position the Continent for the challenges of today and the future in the exchange of goods and services with the rest of the world for mutual benefit without putting Africa at a disadvantage”.