Kenya to play key role in championing globally acceptable standards

Written By: Claire Wanja

Cabinet Secretary Industrialization and Trade, Betty Maina
Cabinet Secretary Industrialization and Trade, Betty Maina

National and international trade in Kenya and other developing countries is expected to receive a tremendous boost with discussion of international standards and conformity assessment.

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This is the key discussion item as the conformity assessment community from round the world meet for the next three days in Nairobi.

Over 130 Conformity Assessment experts are attending the 34th ISO Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) plenary to deliberate on Standards and strategies to enhance conformity assessment.

“As we move forward and with global value chains creating more and more of the world’s wealth – effective, efficient and internationally recognized inspection, testing and certification services that are compliant with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements will be integral to not only parts of, but to whole value chains,” said Mr. Eddy Njoroge, ISO President – Elect.

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“The effects of Standards and conformity assessment on international trade have been at the forefront of policy discussions in the last few decades, most goods and services traded across the world are affected in one way or another by standards.” – @eddy_njoroge

“With a size-able proportion of ISO members being from developing countries, their participation in the international standards setting process is imperative in order to enjoy the full benefits of a globalized economy and consequently a share in the future growth in world trade,” adds Mr. Njoroge.

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ISO, through the National Standard Bodies and National Certification Bodies, aims to contribute to improving developing countries economic growth and access to world markets and helping to achieve sustainable development. Kenya has the important task to represent developing countries in the ISO Committee, on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) to ensure that their interests are taken into account when CASCO standards are being developed.

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Speaking during the official opening ceremony, Ms. Betty Maina, Principal Secretary, State department of Industrialization, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives reiterated the government’s commitment to tackle illicit trade and ensuring that products manufactured locally or imported adhere to the specified requirements and standards.

“Conformity assessment plays a vital role in the Kenyan economy through providing an objective and defensible framework for enforcing national health, safety and environmental legislation. The government is therefore keen to ensure that consumers have access to quality, safe, reliable, compatible, inter operable products and services,” said Ms. Maina.

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Other key issues to be discussed at the forum include laboratory competence and market surveillance which are important in ensuring conformity in the African region.

The event comes even as Kenya celebrates 50 years of active participation in International Standardization and will also celebrate the election of Mr. Eddy Njoroge to the position of ISO President-elect. This is the first time in history that the President of the Global Standards body will be from Africa.

The event was attended by Mr. Bernard Nguyo, Ag. Managing Director, KEBS; Mr. Martin Chesire, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS); and Mr. Sergio Mujica, Secretary General – ISO.



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