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Trade harmonisation vital for Africa – KEBS

THE Kenyan Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has called for the harmonisation and breaking of trade barriers among African countries for the benefit of the continent.
KEBS chairperson Lucas Maitha challenged African countries to increase trade among themselves and harmonise standards.
Mr Maitha said intra-Africa trade is less than 10 percent when the population is over one billion, a situation which he described as unfortunate.
He said India and China are economic powerhouses because of their huge populations and that Africa must learn from them.
“Africa has a huge population but most of the products it consumes are imported, a situation I think we can change if we unite,” Mr Maitha said during a National Technical Committee workshop in commemoration of the 2015 World Standards Day on Friday.
He called on African countries to see to it that poverty is eradicated by working together and empowering one another.
Officiating at the event, Ministry of Commerce permanent secretary Siazongo Siakalenge said Government remains committed to implementing the national quality policy, which aims at enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of each player under the national quality structure.
In a speech read for him by chief economist in the ministry Boniface Kunda, Mr Siakalenge said the ministry will develop standards which respond to the market needs and adequately support economic growth in all sectors of the economy.
“There is need to continue developing and adopting standards in order to increase efficiency and streamlining operations,” he said.
At the same event, Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) acting director Margaret Lungu says the organisation inspected about 25,000 consignments in 2014 and conducted 5,900 laboratory tests.
This year’s World Standards Day theme is ‘Standards-the World’s Common Language’