Low Standards hurting Kenyan businesses

GEORGE OKORE By GEORGE OKORE, 3rd Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Investment

So far, EAC has endorsed 120 common product standards enabling easier
movement of the targeted products at the border points, in a move that is
increasing volume and speed of trade within the common market.

kenyan products has less than one percent of global markets

Non-compliance with international standards
is depriving Kenyan businesses access to key international markets. This
has seen Kenyan products access less than 1% of the global market share of
manufactured products said Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, African Organization
for Standardization (ARSO) Secretary General.

Dr. Nsengimana was speaking at the launch of the first ever Kenya Quality
Week where he noted that Kenyan companies are not adopting international
standards that will enable them be globally competitive.

“International Standards make things work. They give world-class
specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality,
safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international
trade.” Says Dr. Nsengimana

“The most popular standardization is ISO (International Organization for
Standardization standard) an independent, non-governmental membership
organization and the world's largest developer of voluntary International
Standards. It is made up of our 162 member countries who are the national
standards bodies around the world.” Says Ms. Bosibori Okioma, CEO Apex
Management Systems.
ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe,
reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that
reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors and increasing productivity.
They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for
developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade.
Effective Standardisation programmes, developing supply capacity to
produce goods that meet international market demands, regional value
chains and attracting investment should be priorities for Kenyan Companies
to penetrate into key international markets.
“Small and developing countries are hurt the most by diverging national or
regional standards and as a rule gain from recognising all standards of
other countries and abstaining from their own technical trade
restrictions.” Says Ms. Okioma.

According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics website only 166 companies are
ISO certified. It is acknowledged that many developing countries in
Africa face significant standardization challenges, including inability to
adequately participate in international standards development and lack of
the basic technical infrastructure for conformity assessment activities
which makes participation in the international markets difficult.

The Kenya quality week comes at time when Standards have become an
important trade issue in the region following on-going efforts by the East
Africa Community (EAC) to harmonise quality standard as part of
eliminating non-tariff barriers that have slowed down intra-regional trade
for long.
So far, EAC has endorsed 120 common product standards enabling easier
movement of the targeted products at the border points, in a move that is
increasing volume and speed of trade within the common market.


Counterfeits, Kenya, Standards

Meet the author

author avatar GEORGE OKORE
George Okore is an international media consultant, resource person/facilitator, projects/programs manager, community leader, negotiator, advocate and author/writer/columnist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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