Press Release: The First East African Community Quality Awards Held in Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam: The first East African Community (EAC) Quality Awards acknowledged eight companies and SMEs from Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
The companies had already achieved quality excellence in the regional quality competitions. The ceremony was held in Dar es Salaam at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel.
The EAC Secretariat, International Trade Centre and the Germany Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) organized the ceremony through the EU-EAC Market Access Programme (MARKUP) funded by the European Union.
The EAC Quality Award initiative is designed to stimulate interest in quality management and to consolidate and coordinate various quality success efforts in the region by bringing together organizations, with a focus on small and medium businesses for recognition at the EAC level.
The awards recognize the best performing companies and SMEs that excel in quality improvement and innovations that ensure business growth while contributing to sustainable development while inspiring the adoption of international quality culture in the East African enterprises.
Speaking at the event, Director of Trade at the East Africa Community, Mr. Rashid Kibowa said, the EAC Quality awards will not only increase competition among EAC companies but also motivate more companies to engage in quality practices. This will open more doors for East African products and services to other African countries and even the inter-continental business including markets in the European Union.
“It does not end with acknowledging their proper practice alone. It goes further to motivate more companies and SMEs to be champions of Quality. After this, we believe we shall have more applicants next year since the motive is already set,” said Mr Kibowa.
Mr Jocelin Cornet, Team Leader Regional Integration, EU, Dar es Salaam, reiterated the commitment to continue supporting EAC regional integration.
“We look forward to MARKUP 2. The project will focus on building up the success that MARKUP 1 has achieved and even go further,” said Mr Cornet.
The EAC Awards came to Dar es Salaam for the first time after the National Quality Awards, which were hosted earlier in their respective partner states. The national winners were submitted to compete for the regional awards.
Kinazi Cassava Plant Ltd (Rwanda), won the Best SME Product of the Year award. African Improved Foods (Rwanda) won the Best LE Product Company of the Year, Caps Limited (Tanzania) won the Best SME Service Company of the Year and Said Salim Bakhresa & Company Ltd (Tanzania), won the Best LE Service Company of the Year award.
The runners- up include Faima (Tanzania) for SME Product of the Year, Lodhia Foods (Burundi) for LE Product of the Year, Water Access Rwanda (Rwanda) for SME Service Company of the Year and AC Group (Rwanda) for LE Service Company of the Year.
Acknowledgement of performance through these awards helps raise public awareness of the benefits of participation in quality-related activities while enhancing the understanding of quality principles to improve products and services competitiveness.
The winners will also build credibility with clients as well as access to increased business opportunities.
MARKUP Coordinator, GIZ, Ms. Estella Aryada said the awards were a great opportunity for companies and SMEs to widen the scope of their brands and participation assures increase in market reach and new clients from corners of East Africa.
ITC’s Learning Systems Officer, Ms. Margareta von Kirchbach, said: “The winners crowned today have set a bar that other companies and SMEs will have to suppress to get the tittle on the following awards. This will enable producers and service deliverers do the right thing every time.”
Cultivating the adoption of quality culture in the EAC has been among the priorities for the EU-EAC MARKUP project, achieved through interventions that ensure enterprises in the EAC can tap the opportunities in the international market.
In future editions, the EAC Quality Awards will reach more participants from all East African countries. The process for identifying national nominees has already begun.
Notes for the Editor
About the EU-EAC Market Upgrade Programme (MARKUP)
The Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is a regional development initiative that aims to contribute to the economic growth of the East African Community (EAC). More specifically, it aims to support increased exports of agribusiness and horticultural products, promote regional integration as well as access to European markets. MARKUP assists small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda by targeting specific agricultural commodities such as avocado, cocoa, coffee, spices, tea and horticulture.
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About the International Trade Centre (ITC)
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development. For more information, visit www.intracen.org.
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