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Roundtable on National Quality Infrastructure as Side Event at U.S.-Africa Business Summit

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), through its public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Standards Alliance, organized a half-day roundtable on National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) in Maputo, Mozambique on June 20. This roundtable was a side event held in coordination with the Corporate Council on Africa’s (CCA) U.S.- Africa Business Summit, which drew over 1000 participants from the U.S. and African public and private sectors, including multiple heads of state.

A national quality infrastructure includes the institutions and frameworks for standards, metrology, accreditation, and conformity assessment. Together, these components help to promote high quality and safe products and services in a country.   An NQI also facilitates international trade by reducing unnecessary barriers to trade.

The goal of this event was to support of a more resilient and sustainable partnership between the U.S. and African countries in the area of NQI. To achieve this aim, approximately 40 participants engaged in candid discussions about areas for mutual collaboration in elevating participating nations' quality systems by focusing on international best practices. Representatives from five countries also detailed their nation's existing national quality structures and underpinning elements. These discussions helped provide insight into the respective approaches to protect citizens while ensuring that quality structures do not hinder innovation or market access.

Setting the stage for the event, a representative from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative provided an overview of international best practices for NQI and good regulatory practices based on the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO TBT) Agreement. Following this presentation, six representatives from ANSI, ASTM International, the Mozambique National Institute for Standardization and Quality (INNOQ), the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), Senegalese Directorate of Internal Trade (DCI), and the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) provided presentations on NQI and regulatory processes.

Presenters provided tangible examples of how each country and region approaches quality and the institutional structures that support international, national, and cultural goals. Following each country presentation, the speakers joined a panel discussion on best practices and methods for improving quality infrastructure through collaborative efforts between the U.S. and Africa.