Stakeholders Task African Firms on Quality Culture, Production to Compete Globally
Standard and quality experts have urged African organisations to see standard and quality as key credentials to advancing the continent’s quest to compete with the rest of the world. They added that embracing it would position the continent’s market as one that is not a dumping ground but an exporting market.
This affirmation was made during the 2023 African Quality Achievement Awards and African Quality Congress themed ‘Leveraging Quality to Develop Creative Solutions for the Future’ in Lagos. The stakeholders believed that African companies must be ready to self-regulate themselves to be able to export African made goods and services to Europe, America and Asian countries.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of African Quality Congress, Dr. Stanley Timeyin Ohenhen stated that to achieving sustainable quality management would require us seeing quality as what the customer says it is, quality as our way of life (our culture), quality as the only option to managing globally local brands, and that quality and innovation are mutually dependent.
According to him, “Quality requires continuous improvement because it should be implemented with a total system from the gate to the board. Quality as walking the Talk as well as doing the right things right at the right time, all the time, and getting others to do the same.”
Dr. Ohenhen during his remark stated that “This 2023 edition is designed with a bid to deepen conversation around quality and standards, to celebrate leadership in quality management in Africa. It is aimed at identifying, recognizing and regarding companies and products that apply quality culture and quality management best practice in achieving their corporate objectives.”
“This is the more auspicious at a time like this, that the African socio-political, economic and business terrain seem quite troubled by myriads of challenges spanning political crises showcasing electioneering impunity, barefaced manipulations, and ethnic and religious chauvinism, deepening poverty of the mass majority, endemic corruption at high levels in the private, but especially the public sector, skyrocketing inflation, downward drift in the value of local currencies, endless enslavement to the World Bank and the IMF (directly or indirectly) through extremely increasing national debts, endless borrowing and of course, the continuing social issues of insecurity, crime and insurgency. These are serious challenges to an agenda of cultivating a culture of quality,” he said.
He further stated that “The African continent is still indeed, a continent full of opportunities for businesses and budding entrepreneurship, regardless of the daunting environmental, political and socio-economic challenges.”
For example, researches also reveal that as many as over 200 million Africans entered the consumer goods market since 2015. Banking and telecommunications have grown rapidly across the continent within the last decade, and infrastructure expenditures are rising significantly, in fact, faster in Africa, than any other continent in the world. The continent has more than one-quarter of the world’s arable land. Eleven of its countries rank among the top ten sources for at least one major mineral in the world. Africa produced at least 13 percent of global oil by 2015, up from 9 percent as at 1998. For many companies and entrepreneurs, this is a future indeed worth investing in.
The keynote speaker, a certified business coach, Ernest Ovie Shaka believed that Africa should focus on their natural endowment rather than concerning itself with foreign inhibitions.
“It is about time we focus on our strength and pay less attention to what is happening in other continents. Africa is blessed and endowed with natural resources such as Sun, water, fertile soil and human ability. The focus should be more inwards than outward. China, the US, the UK and other developed countries never focused on what is happening in other countries.”
The Executive Director, World Quality Alliance, Favour Esorougue believed that organisations that have quality deficiency would not be able to compete globally, and cannot export because regulatory authorities in other countries would always stop such products from entering its markets.
“We are doing this to encourage manufacturers and service providers in Africa to imbibe the habit of quality and standard. We also recognise and honour those that have been exemplary in the course of promoting quality and standard.”
Over 60 organisations were honored at the 2023 African Quality Achievements Awards (AQAA).