Standards key to economic competitiveness – experts

Raymond Murenzi, director of standards at RSB

Raymond Murenzi, director of standards at RSB

As the country struggles to boost its export base as well as increasing their competitiveness within the region, experts say only standards would salvage Rwanda products from a competition blowout.

Ensuring quality and standards, Raymond Murenzi, director of standards at Rwanda Standards Board-RSB says would give a competitive advantage against their peers in the region.

Murenzi who was speaking to this website on Monday notes Rwanda’s standards are harmonized with the region will further accelerate the competiveness and thus facilitate trade across borders.

“When we say we want to export to Kenya, Uganda and also in Europe, we can’t have our own standards,” Murenzi noted.

This comes at the time the government is pondering over strategies to boost its export base but also promote local products in the local market which have been competing edgily with products from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Although most of the Rwandan products have good quality, they lack standardization mark, an indication of standard inspection which pushes them an inch below other products from the region.

“The market is becoming more conscious about standards with consumers interested in whether the product is certified and this why we should focus more on standards,” said Damien Ndizeye, form consumer Protection Association.

Moreover, experts also say that standards are crucial in boosting the region cross border trade and offset the import bills that have been affecting member states’ trade balance.

“In addition to safeguarding the health and safety of the consumers and the environment, standards can cut the cost and time of doing business by huge amounts,” José Maciel, Regional Trade and Integration Director at Trade Mark East Africa.

The region has already moved in to harmonize most of the standards of frequently traded goods like coffee, edible fats and oils iron, petroleum and tea.

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