The development of countries, Alebel Melaku is convinced, mainly depends on their proximity to technology and educated manpower. The Ethiopian Minister of Trade and Industry expressed this thought at the official opening ceremony of the Standards Academy, which was founded by the Ethiopian Standards Agency (ESA). The Academy was officially inaugurated on 9 May 2021, and it boasts almost 11,000 m2 and has state-of-the-art equipment. Besides the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Vice President and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen, and the Director General of ESA, Endalew Mekonnen, were present at the ceremony as well as representatives of the World Bank and of UNIDO.
PTB has been collaborating with ESA since 2006, when it was still part of the Quality and Standards Authority of Ethiopia. Several PTB projects are currently supporting the Ethiopian quality infrastructure at three different levels. The first of these is within the scope of regional cooperation between African states. The second one is focussing on aligning the quality of African export products with the requirements of German and other international buyers from the global North. And the third consists of supporting the development of agricultural productivity at the national and sub-national levels. This collaboration is much appreciated on both sides and has borne fruit. The recognition of both the Ethiopian QI in general and ESA’s capabilities in particular has increased from a regional as well as an international vantage point. And this is a good sign. This enhanced quality is not only benefitting the Ethiopian population directly, it also means that competitive products and services are also able to gain access to international markets.
The fact that an Academy is now dedicating itself to providing technical experts in the field of standardization with sound training is an important step towards consolidating and enhancing the national QI. For Dr. Barbara Siegmund, Head of PTB’s Sub-Saharan Africa Section, the Academy also has the potential to be a meeting place. The individual components of QI can interact there and also be made accessible to potential customers. Moreover, in her video statement during the opening ceremony, she emphasized that it is very probable that people from other countries will also come to the Academy to receive training. “This will open up wonderful opportunities and make for lively exchanges, and a great deal of inspiration.”
Placing the Academy next to ESA’s main building – and thus on the QI campus – was a strategically good decision. Besides 40 bedrooms, the Academy building accommodates a media centre, a central library with an e-library room, a video conference centre and a publication centre. Both face-to-face teaching and e-learning courses will be offered. The face-to-face classes are held either directly on campus or on-site at a company’s premises if this is requested. In addition, the Academy is planning to organize research activities for East-African countries and to provide support that goes beyond training for different universities.
Images © ESA