Uzodimma, Afreximbank Unveil Imo’s Africa Quality Assurance Centre

Tony Icheku in Owerri

Governor Hope Uzodimma yesterday, accompanied by officials of the Africa Import-Export (Afreximbank) unveiled the second Africa Quality Assurance Centres (AQAC) in the State.

The unveiling ceremony took place at Umuowa in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of the State and attracted dignitaries in Imo State, including foreign investors such as representatives of Hassan Allam, Elsewedy Electric and Bureau Veritas. Afreximbank’s local partner, Fidelity Bank was also represented at the event.

Before unveiling the centre alongside Afreximbank officials and other critical stakeholders, Uzodimma said in his remarks that the project would catalyse inter and intra trade and facilitate job creation in Imo State.

In addition, he said it would boost her economy and that of the adjoining States, in line with his administration’s Shared Prosperity Agenda.

The Governor thanked the President, management and Board Members of Afreximbank for the choice of Imo State and expressed delight to participate in the unveiling just as he welcomed the delegation from Afreximbank from Egypt.

He described the Centre as a world class facility that would certify export of goods for Imo State and other States within the area and reduce the losses incurred in the past by exporters.

He acknowledged that Imo State was central to other States surrounding her and that Imo people would give investors all the necessary support they need to succeed, saying the initiative has, “helped to include Imo State in the world map of trade and business.”

Uzodimma, also promised to provide the conducive environment for investors, noting that “Igbo people at the end of the day will be the first beneficiary.”

He urged Ngor Okpala community, the traditional institutions and the entire Imo citizens to take ownership of the project.

Uzodimma, stressed that Imo State was prepared for international business, engaging in the dredging of Orashi to the Atlantic Ocean, creating Orashi Free Trade Zone, working hard to harness the abundant gas deposit in the State that has necessitated the signing of Orashi Electricity Company Limited pact with an Egyptian Company, Madkour Group.

“What the bank has done and still doing is to provide homegrown solution. I recall how our people were subjected to untold scrutiny just to export the African products. Now the Afreximbank has risen to the occasion and is bringing solution.

“From what I have seen, any certification derived from here cannot be subjected to another scrutiny. I am happy Imo is the second to have this Centre in Nigeria. The Nigeria National Development Plan is in line with this.

“My administration in Imo is centred on prosperity for all which is to activate opportunity for economic growth. Afrexim Bank decision to cite this project here will not be regretted. I have no doubt we will have a win win situation.”

We will give you every support you need to achieve results. It will create jobs for our people. The economic gains coming out of this project, surely, we will be the ultimate beneficiary. We will support it to encourage foreign direct investment in Imo,” he added.

Earlier in his remark, the President of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said the Centre would end the era of African products being rejected at the international level.

Oramah, was represented by the Executive Vice President, intra-African trade, Afrexim Bank, Mrs. Kanayo Awani.

In her address, Awani said it takes strong political will and leadership backed by capital from Africa, “as the best force of our people, to achieve economic growth and transformation.”

She noted that Africa Quality Assurance Centre was aimed at protecting African exporters businesses that had suffered huge losses in the past, adding that Afreximbank had committed $100 million in the project to protect African businesses.

She noted that the target was to assure quality and standards in agricultural products and other such goods bound for exports from Africa.

Awani, emphasised that Imo State was chosen because of her central location and as a State that has abundant agricultural and food produce, cash crops and lots of natural endowment. Besides, she added that Imo State provides industrial policy where the administration has decided to support investments and projects.

“With the unveiling of the Africa Quality Assurance Centre, what it means is that products made in Africa, Nigeria and Imo will meet international standard and safety as well as ensure that products meet regulations and quality so as to meet the technical and certification of products that it requires,” she added.

Also, Afreximbank Director of Export Development, Mrs. Oluranti Doherty, said: “This is the second Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) in Nigeria. One of the key challenges to our various African exporters in accessing regional and international trade is lack of compliance with quality standard regulations. So to resolve this, we set up this African Quality Assurance Centre to assist grow African economy.”

Related Articles