MALAWI – The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) and the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNSB) have entered into an agreement by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate trade between the two countries.
The MoU is also aimed at furthering international cooperation mainly on standardization, quality assurance and metrology.
Speaking during the MoU signing ceremony, the Vice Chairperson of the MBS Board, Mr. Phillip Makhumula, said the MoU is there to ease importation and exportation of goods between the two countries because each side of the agreement will have to recognize conformity or certification by the other body.
Makhumula also said the agreement is there to empower the two organizations to make sure that what they certify as a good product is really of good quality.
On her part, CEO for SSNBS, Madam Mary Nyitur Gordon Mourtat, noted that the MoU is purposed at ensuring that all necessary parameters are set for easy exportation and importation of essential commodities.
She also indicated that the MoU was a starting point for the implementation of the African Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which roots for regional integration.
Some of the essential commodities expected to be exported to South Sudan include maize flour, beans, cooking oil and rice.
In 2017, SSNSB also signed an MoU with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) on standardization and conformity assessment.
This co-operation and mutual interest was aimed at enhancing and strengthening technical cooperation with the aim of exchanging necessary information and expertise between the parties within the framework of the East African Community.
In the same year, the regulator partnered with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to promote cooperation in standardization, conformity assessment and training and provide a framework and mechanism for bilateral cooperation while facilitating mutual trade.
The MOU was facilitated by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) which has supported both SSNBS and KEBS in acquisition of expertise and modern equipment as well as harmonization of standards.
TMEA has provided essential testing and metrology equipment (US$ 1.6 million), refurbishment of chemical and microbiological testing laboratories (US$ 120,000), technical staff training and support in developing a human resource management system, in South Sudan.
In Kenya, TMEA has supported KEBS with up to US$ 1.7 million for modern testing equipment and training.
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