African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) ( has announced the commencement of project development activities of its second African Quality Assurance Center (AQAC) in Ngor Okpala, Imo State, Nigeria, in collaboration with Bureau Veritas.

Project development activities were launched at an event held on 3rd June 2024 in Imo State and attended by His Excellency Senator Hope Odidika Uzodinma, Governor of Imo State, where the Bank showcased a prototype design for the project and introduced Bureau Veritas, a world leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification, as the technical partner to support the operations and management of the facility.

The AQAC Imo State will build on the successes achieved with the pilot AQAC project launched in Ogun State in 2022, by developing a conformity assessment center focused on food, agri products and other goods. The Imo State AQAC will help Nigeria and neighbouring countries boost their exports and gain access to global and regional markets.

Speaking at the event in Imo State, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade and Export Development Bank, Afreximbank said: “The commencement of project development activities of the AQAC in Imo State marks a significant step forward in Afreximbank’s mission to enhance Nigeria and the continent’s export potential. By ensuring that “Made in Africa” goods and products meet international standards and technical regulations at export markets, we are not only boosting trade but also fostering economic growth across the continent in line with the Bank’s mandate.”

It is pertinent note that the AQACs are also expected to expand intra-regional trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by ensuring products meet standards and regulations at export destinations within the continent. Mrs. Kanayo noted that for AQACs to achieve this objective, Afreximbank is collaborating with several stakeholders, including the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) to harmonize standards in key sectors including textiles, apparel, leather and gastronomy. So far, the Bank and ARSO have harmonized over 500 standards in the automotive, medical, and pharmaceutical equipment sectors.

Afreximbank sees an urgent need to support member countries' efforts to improve their conformity assessment infrastructure to comply with international standards and technical regulations in order to promote exports and facilitate intra- and extra-African trade. To improve the hard quality infrastructure, African countries will need to establish testing laboratories and conformity assessment centers to increase their capacity in offering testing, inspection, and certification services.

Through the African Quality Assurance Centers (AQACs) initiative, Afreximbank is mobilizing financial and technical resources, in collaboration with governments, the private sector, and development partners, to develop world class internationally accredited laboratories offering conformity assessment services, and advocate for African countries to adopt appropriate National Quality Infrastructure to meet international trade standards and improve market access for "Made-in-Africa" products.

Afreximbank launched the AQAC initiative in 2017, committing over US$100 million to promote the establishment of internationally accredited facilities across Africa that offer testing, inspection and certification services as well as training in conformity assessment. These accredited facilities will ensure that products made in Africa meet applicable international standards and technical regulations thereby boosting exports across member countries in fulfilment of the Bank’s mandate to finance and promote Intra and Extra African trade.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Afreximbank.

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About Afreximbank:
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. For 30 years, the Bank has been deploying innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Working with the AfCFTA Secretariat and the AU, the Bank is setting up a US$10 billion Adjustment Fund to support countries to effectively participate in the AfCFTA. At the end of September 2023, Afreximbank’s total assets and guarantees stood at over US$33.4 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$5.8 billion. Afreximbank has investment grade ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). Afreximbank has evolved into a group entity comprising the Bank, its impact fund subsidiary called the Fund for Export Development Africa (FEDA), and its insurance management subsidiary, AfrexInsure, (together, “the Group”). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

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