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International Standards Organisation trains developers from Africa

Officials from International Standards Organisation (ISO) recently held a workshop in the country to train developers and managers of standards from different African countries with an aim of helping their businesses compete favourably.

The training came at a time when many African countries still find their commodities rejected in international markets such as the European Union because they do not meet the minimal required standards.

Nesreen Al-Khammash, ISO’s programme manager Academy, said the training involved technical people from 21 countries.

She said ISO has the obligation to support members’ standards bodies. Currently, ISO has 163 country members.
According to Al-Khammash, Uganda has just reached 3,000 standards and that, according to her, is fewer than what ISO has developed, which now stand at about 20,000.

Representatives from African standardisation bodies undergoing training 

She said Uganda is not the worse off but when the trainings are accelerated, the process will enable the country develop more standards, which are goods for trade.

Dr Ben Manyindo, the executive director, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, explained that standards development starts at the national body, and then to regional bodies such as East African Community.

ISO is the top organ that directs the standardization of all country members.

“The fewer the standards you have as a country, the less impact of your economy at the international trade; the more standards you have ,the more trading power you have at the international level,” he explained.

According to Manyindo, Uganda is not doing badly but needs more resources for standards development.

“Where we are not satisfied, I think, is that we have concentrated a lot on product standardization, but now the world is moving to service standards and we have got to run a bit and embrace service standards,” he said.

He added: “There are good standards that have come from ISO but they have not been localized. But we also need tourism standards for the sector, anti-bribery standards, procurement standards, and human resource standards are important.”

However, Al-khammash said “more consumer and business trainings on the importance of standards are needed.”

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