Business/Economy

Afreximbank constructs first Africa Quality Assurance Centre

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19 May 2021 9:16 AM GMT
Afreximbank constructs first Africa Quality Assurance Centre
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The construction of the first Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has commenced in Ogun State. The bank made the announcement in a statement it issued on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt. It said that the centre would be a state-of-the-art facility with the capacity to offer testing, certification, inspection and […]

The construction of the first Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has commenced in Ogun State.

The bank made the announcement in a statement it issued on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt.

It said that the centre would be a state-of-the-art facility with the capacity to offer testing, certification, inspection and training services covering agricultural products.

“It is the first in a series of Quality Assurance Centres that Afreximbank intends to establish across Africa.

“It will support industrialisation across the continent by ensuring that African products are manufactured to international standards and enabling them to participate in intra-African and global trade.

“First class quality infrastructure is considered critical in facilitating trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).”

The statement said that it would provide more than 400 jobs in the local area, including more than 180 in the highly skilled areas of quality assurance, testing, inspection and certification.

It added that an on-site training academy would provide the public and private sector with training in standards and quality assurance, as well as the skills necessary for businesses to compete in regional and international markets.

According to it, the construction of the Ogun State AQAC began on Feb. 25 and is expected to commence operations by the second quarter of 2022.

It is strategically located on a five-hectare plot of land allocated by the Ogun State Government along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

It also said that the project site is 65km from Lagos, Nigeria’s main port city and commercial capital and 75km from Ibadan, a major commercial and industrial hub in south-western Nigeria.

It is also at the center of a region known for export agriculture, the statement added.

According to the bank, Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection and certification is its technical partner on the project and will manage and operate the facility.

The partnership would ensure that AQAC meets the ISO 17025 standard for testing and calibration laboratories to ensure the credibility and reliability of the range of services provided, including physical and chemical testing.

It would also ensure contaminant analysis, microbiological testing, water analysis, soil analysis, plant analysis and organic substrate analysis among others.

The statement quoted Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, as saying “African businesses are set for a major step-change as the AfCFTA opens up new markets across the continent and the globe.

“To make their mark in countries around the world, African products must meet international standards.

“The AQAC in Ogun State will help deliver the highest quality African goods, strengthening their competitiveness and providing confidence to buyers.

“This is an important step, not only in underpinning the ‘Made-in-Africa’ brand, but as a driver for greater exports, increased manufacturing and more resilient economies across the continent.”

It also quoted Marc Roussel, Bureau Veritas Africa Senior Vice President as saying the “organisation was very proud to be involved in the project believing that it could effectively shape trust between companies, public authorities and consumers.

“The AQAC will help improve the quality of Nigerian agricultural and food products, providing a boost to businesses and ensuring the well-being of local consumers.

“At the same time, compliance with international standards will facilitate access to export markets and thus increase the economic activity and employment in Nigeria.”

The bank said that Courtney Michael Partnership Nigeria Limited, a Nigerian based company specialised in project management and construction management services were its project managers.

Meanwhile, Monterosa Construction Ltd, Nigeria and Lambert Electromec Nigeria Ltd would be providing construction services.

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