Quality First!


It is not the first time stakeholders in the production sector are discussing quality. Maybe, the difference this time is that a whole forum is being organised to handle the situation. In effect, actors want to improve the quality of what they produce in Cameroon in order to be more competitive on the national and above all international market. For three days running, participants at the forum will reflect on ways and means to boost all that is made in Cameroon. Critics think three days may not be enough to size up an issue that has been burning for several decades.

The real problem might not be the time allocated for the reflection but how deep and how far the resolutions that will emerge from the forum be implemented. The theme of the forum is certainly not chosen by accident. Cameroon is working within the precincts of attaining emergence by 2035. This will be a missed objective if by this time, the quality of infrastructure from Cameroon remains at its present rudimentary stage. The Minister of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Gabriel Dodo Ndocke, in his opening speech yesterday, June 12, recalled the importance of industrialization in the whole gamut of actions geared at attaining emergence.

The private sector is particularly challenged by this initiative considering that it constitutes the driving force of economic growth. High quality infrastructure hinges on a number of factors including respect for set standards, conformity, metrology, certification and accreditation. These are concepts that largely guide the production of high quality products. The respect for norms and standards has so far remained a serious problem in Cameroon's production and marketing landscape.

Of the sectors most affected are; electronics, building material, foodstuff and medicaments, among others. As a reminder, Cameroon a few years back counted 4,500 building construction norms that must be respected. These touched on areas such as building materials having as aim to ensure security and sustainability of buildings.

Some of these norms, according to the National Agency for Standards and Quality (ANOR) were already made obligatory as effort were on the way to homologate at least 12,000 norms. Already, 30 norms are already in use within the framework of the construction of 10,000 low-cost social housing units in the country. These include among others norms on geotechnical and technical studies as well as on sand, gravel and bricks.

The World has become a global village and goods produced anywhere must be of good quality in order to be competitive and attract the market. The mad rush for foreign goods is an indication that goods produced at home need to be improved upon. In fact, for the slogan, "Consume Cameroonian" to be translated into reality, efforts must be made to render home-made goods more attractive. There is nothing in the production chain that beats quality.

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