Nigeria urges Africa to enhance competitive industrial base

Elizabeth Christopher

Africa has been urged to evolve policies and plans that would enhance the development of a strong, sustainable and competitive industrial base

This, the Nigerian Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar  said was crucial to their abilities to generate employment, create income opportunities as well as guarantee the socioeconomic well being of its citizenry.

Abubakar made the call at the opening of the 7th African Accreditation Cooperation General Assembly and Meetings in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

She also stressed the need to put in place adequate infrastructural facilities to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI’s) and enhance industrial development.

“Africa needs to develop the requisite functional and sustainable infrastructure that would not only enhance expeditious industrial development but also facilitate intra Africa trade, which is still low, compared to other continental blocks of the world,” she said.

The Minister reiterates country’s commitment to create a robust National Quality Infrastructure, NQI, under the auspices of UNIDO with funding by the European Union as a critical measure necessary for the desired industry development and competitiveness of Nigerian products and services.

“I am delighted to inform you that Nigeria is at the verge of obtaining a robust National Quality Infrastructure. The Nigeria Accreditation National Service (NINAS), one of the major pillars of the NQI is also being established with technical support from UNIDO, NINAS has been registered and already deploying the structure in accordance with the West Africa accreditation system as agreed by the Member States of ECOWAS in 2013,” she explained.

African goods
The Chairman of African Accreditation Cooperation, AFRAC, Ron Josias said the body is Committed to facilitating the acceptance of Africa’s goods and services amongst ourselves, and the rest of the world.

‘‘Since the establishment of the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) in Cairo Egypt in September 2010, AFRAC has made tremendous advancement to develop and implement the AFRAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement, encourage cooperation and mutual assistance among Member, build capacity…to make our goods and services more competitive and to contribute to the protection of health safety and the environment,” Josias said

He pointed out that they aim to have seven internationally recognized Accreditation Bodies on the continent by 2020.

For the organiser of the event, acting Director General of Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON, Dr. Paul Angya, the meeting would chart a new course for Africa through the establishment of bodies that would endorse the competencies of regulatory processed through accreditation.

Dr Angya stressed that SON would not relent on efforts aimed at improving the quality, safety, integrity and marketability of Nigerian goods and services.

‘‘SON being the national standard body, has continued to provide the technical competence and support for the implementation of the NQI program to surmount the challenges that hindered business engagement with other countries, it is important to note that SON has midwifed the establishment of the NINAS and the Metrology Institute (NMI) in Nigeria and is providing the technical support and other resources,’’ he said.

Angya expressed that hope that the outcome of the 7th AFRC General Assembly and Meeting would be to the good of the continent.

AFRAC is a cooperation of accreditation bodies, sub-regional accreditation cooperation and stakeholders whose objective is to facilitate trade and contribute to the protection of health, safety and the environment, in Africa and thereby improve Africa’s competitiveness.