Appreciating and complying with quality standards will play a big role towards the success of the second phase of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) and help make Rwanda’s goods competitive globally.
Dr. Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, the Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) director general, said as the country strives to achieve EDPRS II targets, the producers and service providers must comply with set standards.
“The Government’s role will be to facilitate the private sector by putting up the necessary infrastructure and other facilities to ensure the planned growth agenda is achieved. However, as we try to achieve these goals, the private sector should ensure quality in whatever they do,” he noted.
Bagabe was addressing a stakeholders’ workshop on the topic “Institutional strengthening of standards bodies in the 21st century” in Kicukiro last week.
According to Bagabe, conforming to standards contributes 80 per cent of world commodity trade, especially where standards have been transparent and demand-driven (by the private sector).
Shyam Kumar Gujadhur, a consultant with the International Standards Organisation, said it was important for producers to comply with the World Trade Organisation standards to access international markets.
“Standardisation will be the master key that will open global markets for your products,” Kumar told members of the private sector.
He, however, noted that most traders do not comply with standards because they do not know the benefits.
According to Athanasie Mukeshiyaremye, the head of the agriculture, chemistry and environmental standards unit at RBS, product value-addition is profitable when producers comply with standards.
She noted that Rwanda’s coffee prices increased from 0.4 cents to $4.5 a kilo on the international market because of improvement in quality.
Mukeshiyaremye said standardisation alone could contribute about 4 per cent to GDP growth if there was total compliance to standards.
How standards impact on the international trade
In the UK, standards make an annual contribution of £2.5b and contributes about 9 per cent to Canada’s economic growth rate, while Australia earns over $1.9b from the sector.