NIGERIA – As part of its mission to establish top-notch quality assurance centers across Africa, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has inaugurated the first African Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) in Ogun State, Nigeria.
The program, a wholly owned subsidiary of Afreximbank’s Fund for African Export Development (FEDA), seeks to ensure that Made-in-Africa products adhere to technical specifications and international standards in order to encourage exports and ease intra- and extra-African trade.
The Ogun State AQAC is a cutting-edge facility with the ability to test and certify goods for both domestic and international use.
Its testing facilities and cutting-edge equipment provide the necessary services, including physical and chemical testing, contaminant analysis (for things like pesticides and heavy metals), microbiological testing, water analysis, soil analysis, plant analysis, and organic substrate analysis.
Additionally, the center provides inspection and training services that encompass the entire food and agricultural value chain to strengthen technical capacities and transmit know-how in the field of conformity assessment in Nigeria and West Africa.
Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, said the official commissioning ceremony of the Ogun State AQAC was an important milestone in the execution of the Bank’s industrialization agenda.
“We are very happy to see this important project come to fruition on schedule. We are delighted to provide Nigeria and Africa with the first of these centres that will quickly restore global confidence in products originating from Africa. The Ogun State AQAC will help Nigeria and neighbouring countries in West and Central Africa to boost their exports and gain access to global and regional markets.
“It will also help to set high standards in product packaging and branding and attract investment in these spin-off activities. These activities will help to improve the quality of life, create jobs and promote export diversification,” Prof. Oramah stated.
Construction of the Ogun State AQAC kicked off in February 2021 on a 5-hectare plot of land allocated to the project by the Ogun State.
The facility is strategically located along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and is 65 km from Lagos, the key port city and commercial capital of Nigeria, and 75 km from Ibadan, a major commercial and industrial hub of South-West Nigeria.
Quality assurance to boost exports
Afreximbank worked on the implementation of this top AQAC with Bureau Veritas as a technical partner who will also be in charge of running the project to make sure the AQAC in Ogun State is effective, economically feasible, and sustainable.
“On behalf of the Bureau Veritas Group, I am very proud to participate as a partner in this project and to be able to bring our unique technical expertise and experience.
“It is an outstanding achievement for our company and the employees who are going to work here; food safety is equal to food security; let us start with shaping a world of trust by shaping trust in Africa, trust that will not only lead to growth and wealth creation but shifts the paradigm to where “the Made in Africa” becomes synonymous with 100% of Quality,” said Marc Roussel, Senior Vice President of Bureau Veritas Africa, President of Government Services.
Also speaking, the Honourable Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, representing His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, noted that boosting export is the strategy that the federal government has designed to bridge the supply gap and generate earnings in the near future.
“Quality assurance places us on the right footing as we continue to drive Nigeria’s industrialization agenda and boost job creation,” he said.
In his remarks, H.E. Adedapo Abiodun, Executive Governor of Ogun State, said the opening of the center is another symbolic representation of Afreximbank’s commitment as a partner in the development agenda of Ogun State.
“We are sincerely proud to be part of this success story. Our vision remains to give Ogun state focused and qualitative governance and to create the enabling environment for a public-private sector partnership, which is fundamental to the creation of an enduring economic development and individual prosperity of the people of Ogun,” Governor Abiodun said.
In addition to the AQAC in Ogun State, Afreximbank has committed to deploy over U.S$100 million through FEDA, to develop other AQACs in Nigeria and across the continent.