By Asmau Ahmad
The African Export–Import Bank (Afrixembank) has reiterated its commitment to save Nigeria from over $700 million losses agro-export rejections with the inauguration of the African Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC).
The President and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Prof. Benedict Oramah, disclosed at the inauguration of the AQAC on Wednesday in Sagamu, Ogun State.
The bank inaugurated the AQAC, the first in its series in Nigeria, to ensure the production and export of quality agro-produce from the country.
The AQAC laboratory is an initiative of the Afrixembank to ensure that “made in Africa” products meet the required health and safety standards.
Oramah said that the country had suffered a loss estimated at $700 million over rejected agro-produce, a situation, the AQUA is set up to address.
“Due to poor quality over $700 million worth of agro-produce are rejected from Europe alone.
“About 76 per cent of exports from Africa are rejected annually. We are working with a lot of organisations to create the framework for harmonisation of standards across the continent.
“We are budgeting about $100 million for the development of this plan of setting up African Quality Assurance Centres across the country.
“We are pleased to commission the first in a series of African Quality Assurance Centres. We are about today we are going to do a simple ceremony of commissioning but the impact will be monumental,” Oramah said.
In addition, he also lauded the Ogun state government for their support in making the AQUA a reality.
“There is no country that aspires to become an export success without solid, quality infrastructure.
“There is no country that can expect to participate effectively in the Agricultural Free Trade Agreements without sound quality infrastructure.
“We want to thank the government of Ogun State under the leadership of Gov. Adedapo Abiodun for making it possible that we are located this large expanse of land,” he said.
Mr Marc Roussel, Senior Vice President Africa of Bureau Veritas, the technical company to run the AQAC, said quality agro-produce is the foundation for ensuring food security in continent.
Bureau Veritas is a global leader in testing, inspection and certification and Afrixembank’s technical partner on AQAC project in Nigeria.
Roussel stressed the need for quality products to ensure food security in Africa.