NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – A four days meeting aimed at harmonizing standards in the cosmetology sector across Africa has kicked off in Nairobi on Tuesday, with leading cosmetics manufacturing countries participating.
This meeting comes at a time when there have been rising concerns over some of the cosmetic products containing harmful chemicals that cause cancer and other skin infections as well unhygienic practices in the industry that has led to spread of infectious diseases to unsuspecting clients.
Secretary General for the African Organization for Standardization Hermogenes Nsengimana says harmonization of standards will increase the Africa’s competitiveness globally and uplift the welfare of African consumers.
Nsengimana also said that a single, harmonized standard avoids the cost multiplicity that arises from multiple standards, which creates the convergence of requirements and removes divergent national standards.
“Empirical evidence from the European Union shows that harmonized standards are associated with increased trade among harmonizing countries,” he said.
Nsengimana said this meeting is crucial as the continent is moving to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) entered into force on May 30, 2019 aiming at expanding the intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade.
The AfCFTA will bring together all 55 member states of the African Union covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, in terms of numbers of participating countries, the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
Representing Haco industries Francis Mukuria said harmonized standards will also reduce trade barriers making it easier for producers to access an expanded market within the harmonization zone.
“We are here to streamline our standards in the African market and therefore this meeting will help Kenyan industries to penetrate the market and be able to sell their products across Africa,” said Mukuria.
Haco industries is one of the region’s leading FMCG manufacturers, supplying a wide range of products to the entire East African and COMESA Markets.
Some of their notable and widely used products include skin care products such as Amara lotions, Petroleum jelly, Palmers, hair care such as Miadi conditioners, relaxers and shampoo, home care among them Sosoft and Sparkle.
Mukuria just like other Kenyan manufactures believes that the lack of harmonized standards and conformity assessment procedures features prominently among the barriers to intra-African trade.