The Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise (ECAE) and Social & General Services (SGS S.A), a Switzerland company, signed a representation
agreement authorizing the former to assess goods for export from Ethiopia and the latter to assess goods for import to the Ethiopian market.
At a signing ceremony held on February 19, at the Hilton Hotel, Gashaw Tesfaye, Deputy Director General of ECAE, said “SGS and many other companies turn up in Ethiopia to inspect and assess products, but now they don’t have to come; we will conduct the inspection of products that are prepared for export.” The latest deal allows ECAE to share the business in the country.
As a result of the agreement that took a year and nine months to negotiate, SGS is working on developing ECAE’s expertise to handle such tasks independently. “They have the best IT solutions worldwide. We also have the requisite materials but not the expertise, and they will raise our standards to the international level.”
According to Albert Stokell, Managing Director for SGS Kenya, his company will be able to support its clients in other countries with the services of ECAE, here in Ethiopia. “We are a foreign company; we have to have an Ethiopian representative. ECAE is a vehicle for us,” he said at a short briefing after the signing ceremony.
Albert also remarked his fascination by the impressive progress that ECAE is making. SGS will also use ECAE’s laboratory for electrical testing for East Africa as it doesn’t have one in the region. His company primarily used to do it in countries like China, Taiwan, and other Far Eastern countries. “If we can develop the requirement for this testing and, as we already know that it’s done efficiently here, there’s no reason why we should send samples to those countries,” he added. ECAE offers both mandatory and voluntary inspection and assessment services. Third-party inspection services for, among many others, plastic, metal, cement, textiles, leather and agricultural products are some of the services that ECAE currently offers its clients.
SGS is currently providing inspection and evaluation services for one major worldwide client, a company which that imports textile, garment and footwear from Ethiopia for the European and US markets. “We have been working together with ECAE to boost the level of expertise that is required by our client for the inspections and testing of textile and shoe factories we are evaluating,” Albert said.
After the agreement, which is subject to annual renewal, the inspection price would reduce the cost of transportation, accommodation, and other expenses incurred by experts who come from abroad for this purpose. Gashaw states that this means a lot for companies. Working with SGS, which has 1,500 offices in 140 countries worldwide, ECAE will have worldwide acceptance as a result of this partnership. “We of course were recognized as we do accreditation work but were not accepted worldwide,” he said. “Ethiopian companies would be accepted and would be able to sell their products in other parts of the world via the accreditation we provide them, as a result of this agreement.”
Mahamoud Ahmed Gaaz, State minister of Science and Technology, also stated his belief that this agreement will bear fruit that are rightly anticipated. “It is believed to transfer knowledge to ECAE and to improve and provide customer-oriented services,” he said at the signing ceremony.