Friday, 3 October 2014

The African Union Commission and the Pan-African Quality Infrastructure discuss joint Strategic Plan

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29 September, 2014 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The 4th Pan-African Quality Infrastructure (PAQI) meeting kicked off today at the African Union Commission (AUC) headquarters. The one-day meeting was jointly organized by the AUC Departments of Trade and Industry and Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Resource Mobilization and the Pan-African Quality Infrastructure. The meeting’s main objective was to discuss and review the Joint AUC – PAQI Strategic Plan based on priority outcomes and outputs of the AUC 2014-2017 Strategic Plan vis-à-vis areas of expertise of the PAQI Pillar Organizations. The outcome would be a Strategic Plan Document that identifies priority areas for the AUC where PAQI can provide requisite policy support over the planning period.

The work of the four PAQI institutions is critical for economic integration in Africa and can play a critical catalytical role in the establishment and effective implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 2017 among other issues.

At the opening ceremony, Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, the PAQI Chairperson pointed out that PAQI is a forum not an institution. “PAQI is a forum for all matters related to standardization, conformity assessment, metrology and accreditation which all contribute positively to the CFTA”, he mentioned. According to him, the final document of the AUC-PAQI strategic plan will be presented to the African Union Commission by the end of the year following the completion and consolidation of internal review processes by AUC Departments.

In her opening statement, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Her Excellency, Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl thanked the PAQI for the partnership and encouraged that AUC works closely with ARSO on their African Trade Portal as the Department of Trade and Industry also has started work on establishing the African Union Trade Observatory as part of the CFTA Architecture. She explained that the meeting is testimony to the common and shared vision for a more integrated Africa that can produce goods and services, feed its own people, generate jobs for its growing young people and maintain healthy populations and safe workplaces. She also recalled one of the outcomes of the meeting. “One key outcome of this meeting is the Joint strategic plan between PAQI organizations and the AUC Departments. This plan will be accompanied by a clear implementation matrix that outlines timely and tangible realistic deliverables and results with dedicated roles and responsibilities amongst our institutions”, she said. The Commissioner stated that Quality Infrastructure is cross cutting and hence crucial in the AUC-PAQI joint planning, reporting, monitoring and evaluation processes. “It is my sincere hope that based on their Comparative Competencies, PAQI institutions will align their work programmes and activities in line with the key AUC sectors which are: Agriculture, infrastructure, transport, energy, environments, natural resources, health, trade and Industry sectors. I am aware that in the proposed implementation matrix, PAQI assigned its activities to some AUC programmes such as BIAT/CFTA, AIDA, CAADP, PIDA and PMPA which are programmes that need great support for the development of Africa”, she concluded.

PAQI was officially launched in August 2013 by the AUC Director of Trade and Industry, Mrs. Treasure Thembisile Maphanga following the signing of a PAQI MoU by ARSO, AFRIMETS, AFSEC, and AFRAC with the support of the AUC. PAQI pillars are already recognized for international good practices by the relevant international organizations in their respective fields of operation.
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