Afreximbank and Bureau Veritas Launch Quality Assurance Center in Imo State

Afreximbank and Bureau Veritas commence development of Nigeria’s second African Quality Assurance Center to boost exports and economic growth.

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced the commencement of project development activities of its second African Quality Assurance Center (AQAC) in Ngor Okpala, Imo State, Nigeria, in collaboration with Bureau Veritas.

Project development activities were launched at an event held on 3rd June 2024 in Imo State and attended by His Excellency Senator Hope Odidika Uzodinma, Governor of Imo State, where the Bank showcased a prototype design for the project and introduced Bureau Veritas, a world leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification, as the technical partner to support the operations and management of the facility.

The AQAC Imo State will build on the successes achieved with the pilot AQAC project launched in Ogun State in 2022, by developing a conformity assessment center focused on food, agri products and other goods. The Imo State AQAC will help Nigeria and neighbouring countries boost their exports and gain access to global and regional markets.

The commencement of project development activities of the AQAC in Imo State marks a significant step forward in Afreximbank’s mission to enhance Nigeria and the continent’s export potential. By ensuring that “Made in Africa” goods and products meet international standards and technical regulations at export markets, we are not only boosting trade but also fostering economic growth across the continent in line with the Bank’s mandate.

Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade and Export Development Bank, Afreximbank

It is pertinent note that the AQACs are also expected to expand intra-regional trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by ensuring products meet standards and regulations at export destinations within the continent. Mrs. Kanayo noted that for AQACs to achieve this objective, Afreximbank is collaborating with several stakeholders, including the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) to harmonize standards in key sectors including textiles, apparel, leather and gastronomy. So far, the Bank and ARSO have harmonized over 500 standards in the automotive, medical, and pharmaceutical equipment sectors.

Afreximbank sees an urgent need to support member countries’ efforts to improve their conformity assessment infrastructure to comply with international standards and technical regulations in order to promote exports and facilitate intra- and extra-African trade. To improve the hard quality infrastructure, African countries will need to establish testing laboratories and conformity assessment centers to increase their capacity in offering testing, inspection, and certification services.

Through the African Quality Assurance Centers (AQACs) initiative, Afreximbank is mobilizing financial and technical resources, in collaboration with governments, the private sector, and development partners, to develop world class internationally accredited laboratories offering conformity assessment services, and advocate for African countries to adopt appropriate National Quality Infrastructure to meet international trade standards and improve market access for “Made-in-Africa” products.

Afreximbank launched the AQAC initiative in 2017, committing over US$100 million to promote the establishment of internationally accredited facilities across Africa that offer testing, inspection and certification services as well as training in conformity assessment. These accredited facilities will ensure that products made in Africa meet applicable international standards and technical regulations thereby boosting exports across member countries in fulfilment of the Bank’s mandate to finance and promote Intra and Extra African trade.

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