Mauritania has approximately 4.42 million inhabitants and a surface area of 1,030,700 km², making it almost three times larger than Germany. Being a transit country between West Africa and the Maghreb, Mauritania plays a special role in German Development Cooperation.
Recently, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Müller, underlined in an interview with the German newspaper Schwäbische Zeitung how important it is to support the quality assurance of Mauritanian products. He said that Mauritanian fish was “excellent” and that it could be exported duty-free into the EU today. So far however, German fish connoisseurs have been denied Mauritanian monkfish and brace, as Mauritania is not yet able to comply with the EU provisions for consumer protection. It is all the more important to provide support to this country so that it will be able to develop its metrological competences. Such a development could help create jobs and increase the quality of local products.
Since 2009, PTB’s International Cooperation department has supported Mauritania within the scope of the regional project »Promotion of metrology in the Maghreb to enhance international trade.«
At the regional level, Mauritania held the presidency of the MAGMET (Maghreb-Métrologie) network from 2016 to 2018 and enticed the four member states of Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia to set up a declaration of intent to consolidate the network. Beyond integration in MAGMET, the process of setting up and expanding a mass and temperature laboratory will be supported at the national level.
In the Mauritanian national metrology laboratory DNPQ (Direction de la Normalisation et de la Promotion de la Qualité), great progress has also been made in cooperation with PTB. For example, employees have been trained, and various equipment has been purchased. In February 2019, the aim will be to accredit the two laboratories, as the director of DNPQ, Mr. Mohamed Ethmane, told us, obviously proud, at our Project Coordinators’ last visit to Nouakchott.
Mr. Ethmane (third from right) and the DNPQ team during the visit of Christin Kulgemeyer (Head of Working Group 9.34, back row, centre) and Tanja Walter (Project Coordinator, fourth from right) in October 2018
By means of accreditation, the laboratory hopes to be able to reliably provide metrological services and to substantially increase the number of its customers. To raise the awareness of industry and the economy of the national metrological services offered, DNPQ cooperates closely with the Mauritanian Chamber of Commerce.
In the field of mass and temperature, DNPQ is headed in the right direction. Given the high commitment of its on-site employees, there is still hope for the freshly caught fish – which is indeed »excellent« – to be on our plates soon.