EAC discuss safety and standards

Wants common certification markMEMBER states of the East African Community (EAC) have convened in Kigali to discuss standards of products in the region, with an aim to improve cross-border trade by using a common certification mark.

Wants common certification mark

MEMBER states of the East African Community (EAC) have convened in Kigali to discuss standards of products in the region, with an aim to improve cross-border trade by using a common certification mark.

The proposal is contained in the regional quality infrastructure project of EAC’s national standards bodies which is expected to support the bloc’s integration through relevant aspects of trade facilitation.

“Normally we re-test products from different countries in the EAC, but once technical regulations are harmonised with a single certification mark it will reduce barriers to trade,” Mark Bagabe Cyubahiro, Director General of Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) said yesterday during an evaluation workshop.

The project also seeks to improve the shaping and adaptation of high-quality infrastructure to increase cross-border exchange of goods and services through time and cost saving.

Bagabe said: “We joined late and we need more support to be at par with other partner states in terms of input and participation.” Tobias Diergardt, the Project Coordinator, German Cooperation, said that the two first phases of the project which end in December 2010 have been financed to the tune of €3.5 million while the third phase is expected to cost €800,000.

The Quality Infrastructure project is sponsored by the German government, while the Germany Metrology organization is implementing the project.

The project, which is in its second phase, recommends that Rwanda and Burundi be the main focus in the third phase regarding capacity building in selected areas.

It was mentioned that 1102 standards in the EAC have been harmonized, but not fully adopted at the national level.

Diergardt said that the success of the project would be measured by participation of the private sector, collaboration of National Standards Bureaus, increased demand for quality management and improved quality of infrastructure.

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