By Staff Reporter
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), on 21 December 2022, opened the first African Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) in Ogun State, Nigeria, as part of its initiative to develop world-class quality assurance centres across Africa.
The initiative is aimed at ensuring that Made-in-Africa products comply with international standards and technical regulations in order to promote exports and facilitate intra and extra-African trade.
The Ogun State AQAC is a state-of-the-art centre with the capacity to offer testing and certification of products for both export and domestic consumption. Its laboratories and modern instruments offer the requisite testing services, including physical and chemical testing, contaminant analysis (such as pesticides and heavy metals), microbiological testing, water analysis, soil analysis, plant analysis and organic substrate analysis.
The centre also offers inspection and training services, covering the food and agricultural value chain to transfer know-how and improve technical capacities in the conformity assessment field in Nigeria and West Africa.
Speaking at the official commissioning ceremony of the Ogun State AQAC, Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, said it was a significant milestone in the implementation of the Bank’s industrialization strategy.
“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.
Afreximbank worked on the implementation of this premier AQAC with Bureau Veritas as a technical partner who will also be responsible for operating the project to ensure that the AQAC in Ogun State is successful, commercially viable 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,” said Marc Roussel, Senior Vice President of Bureau Veritas Africa, President of Government Services.
“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,” concluded Mr. Roussel.
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, said: “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 industrialisation agenda and boost job creation.”
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.
Construction of the Ogun State AQAC began 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.
In addition to the AQAC in Ogun State, Afreximbank has committed to deploy over US$100 million through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), to develop other AQACs in Nigeria and across the continent.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Afreximbank is working with the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2021, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at about US$25 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$4 billion. Afreximbank disbursed more than US$51 billion between 2016 and 2021. The Bank has ratings assigned by GCR(international scale) (A), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.