African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) has announced the commencement of the construction of the Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) in Ogun State. The Centre would be a state-of-the-art facility with the capacity to offer testing, certification, inspection, and training services covering agricultural products.
The first in a series of Quality Assurance Centres to be established by AFREXIMBANK across Africa to support industrialization across the continent by ensuring that African products are manufactured to international standards and enabling them to participate in intra-African and global trade.
First class quality infrastructure is considered critical in facilitating trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The Centre, which is expected to commence operations by the second quarter of 2022, would provide more than 400 jobs in the local area, including over 180 in the highly-skilled areas of quality assurance, testing, inspection, and certification.
In addition, an on-site training academy would provide the public and private sector with training in standards and quality assurance, as well as the skills necessary for businesses to compete in regional and international markets.
The AQAC is strategically located on a 5-hectare plot of land allocated by the Ogun State government along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The project site is 65 kilometres from Lagos, Nigeria’s main port city and commercial capital, and 75 kilometres from Ibadan, another major commercial and industrial hub in south-western Nigeria. It is also at the centre of a region known for export agriculture.
President of AFREXIMBANK, Benedict Oramah, declared: “African businesses are set for a major step-change as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) opens up new markets across the continent and the globe. To make their mark in countries around the world, African products must meet international standards. The AQAC in Ogun State will help deliver the highest quality African goods, strengthening their competitiveness and providing confidence to buyers. This is an important step, not only in underpinning the ‘Made-in-Africa’ brand, but as a driver for greater exports, increased manufacturing and more resilient economies across the continent.”
Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection, and certification, is AFREXIMBANK’s technical partner on the project and would manage and operate the facility. The partnership would ensure AQAC meets the International Standard Organization (ISO) 17025 standard for testing and calibration laboratories, to ensure the credibility and reliability of the range of services provided, including physical and chemical testing, contaminant analysis, microbiological testing, water analysis, soil analysis, plant analysis and organic substrate analysis, among others.
Bureau Veritas Africa Senior Vice President, Marc Roussel, said: “We are very proud to be involved in this project and believe it can effectively shape trust between companies, public authorities and consumers. The AQAC will help improve the quality of Nigerian agricultural and food products, providing a boost to businesses and ensuring the well-being of local consumers. At the same time, compliance with international standards will facilitate access to export markets and thus increase the economic activity and employment in Nigeria.”
Courtney Michael Partnership Nigeria Limited, a Nigerian based company specialized in project management and construction management services, are project managers, while Monterosa Construction Ltd, Nigeria and Lambert Electromec Nigeria Ltd are providing construction services.
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