Concept Note:5th Essay Competition Concept 30th Nov 2017
The Africa-wide development agenda, as championed by the African Union (AU), is focused on regional integration and the formation of an African Economic Community (AEC) as laid out in the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action for the Economic Development of Africa and the Abuja Treaty of 1991 African Union (2013). The Africa regional integration roadmap considers the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the building blocks of the AEC (Ilmari Soininen (2014), the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) initiative by 217, and although regional agreements may vary, all have the objective of reducing trade barriers among member countries and achieving a more industrialized and prosperous continent, for which the importance of standardisation and Conformity Assessment and the associated institutions of Quality Infrastructure like ARSO and the National Bureau of Standards play a central role.
The elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers called for by the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) initiative, under an effective Quality Infrastructure offers African countries a great long-term opportunity and greater challenge to improve industrial capacity and trade. Indeed, the CFTA has substantial room to increase Africa’s trade growth dramatically and to pave the way for the industrialisation and economic transformation necessary for African countries to achieve the ambitious targets of the global Agenda 2030 and Africa’s own Agenda 2063, as highlighted by UNECA in its Economic Report of Africa 2015. The CFTA which is the Flagship project of the Agenda 2063 is poised to contribute significantly to increased competitiveness of Africa’s industrial products through harnessing the economies of scale of a large continental market; increased rate of diversification and transformation of Africa’s economy and the continent’s ability to supply its import needs from its own resources and share the benefits of an increasingly connected global marketplace.
In a nutshell, Quality Infrastructure refers “to all aspects of metrology, standardisation, conformity assessment (testing, certification and inspection) quality management Market surveillance and accreditation. This includes both public and private institutions and the regulatory framework within which they operate.” (BMZ, 2004). Experts’ opinion, universally, conquers that, Quality Infrastructure offers a complete package addressing the needs of the nation’s citizens, of customers and consumers, and of enterprises and other organizations that offer them products and services, and essentially contributes to governmental policy objectives in areas including industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, health, the environment and climate change. Setting up a Quality Infrastructure System, therefore, is one of the most positive and practical steps that a developing nation can take on the path forward to developing a thriving economy as a basis for prosperity, health and well-being (UNIDO 2016).
Advocating for, and setting up an effective Quality Infrastructure in Africa, is thus in tandem with the African Union call on the African institutions to give priority to structural transformation, an overarching objective of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 that calls for the promotion of macro-economic policies that facilitate growth, employment creation, investments, manufacturing and industrialisation (AU, Agenda 2063). Already, the African Union, during the 9th Sessions of its Ministers of Trade and Industry, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2014, declared the 2017 as year of African Quality Infrastructure and called on greater awareness creation on the need of Effective Quality Infrastructure, in all African Countries.
The Winners of the 4th Essay Competition are:
|POSITION||NAME / NOM||AWARDED / DÉCERNÉ||COUNTRY / PAYS|
|One||Tapera Dzidzo Jogwe||1st Continental Winner||Zimbabwe|
|Two||Moffo Kamta Diane||2nd Continental Winner||Cameroon|
|Three||Ota Ama Chinoso||3rd Continental Winner||Nigeria|
|Four||Agbama Joseph Akem||–||Nigeria|
|Five||Ogbaga Sunday Thomas||–||Nigeria|
|Seven||Gentle Chigozie Uwaoma||–||Nigeria|
|Nine||Maboune Pegerkouo Jessica||–||Cameroon|
|Nine||Deugooue Siaga Charles||–||Cameroon|