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Africa Trade Standards Project: Bridging the Standards Divide: Challenges for Improving Africa's International Market Access

The Africa Trade Standards Project (ATSP) was a World Bank project designed to support trade capacity building and research needs relating to standards and trade in Africa. The project was funded in part by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and involved detailed case studies of 5 African countries - Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. ATSP focused on the following objectives:

  • Assessing and building awareness (workshops and capacity building) on the range, importance, and impact of international standards and technical regulations on Africa's current and prospective trade. It focused on agricultural, food, and light manufactured products;
  • Analyzing the current status of African supply systems and regulatory/certification arrangements and the gaps between these systems and supply chains linked to OECD markets. Analysis also covered the strategies being taken by different industries, to comply with these evolving international/external standards and the bottlenecks and costs faced in this process;
  • Developing five country-specific action plans-for South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique -- to expand access to and use of international standards. This  included the identification of specific infrastructure and capacity building needs, both in the public and private sectors.

Concept Documents

Country Overview

International standards are important for Kenya because merchandise trade contributes to about 40% of the total gross domestic product (GDP). The impact of international standards ...more

Mozambique’s industrial and commercial policies consider the importance of developing the national quality system according to international rules. However, though quality and standardization issues are reflected in several documents, they are not yet the subject of appropriate development programs, neither at government nor donor level. Quality is not yet prioritized ...more

The private sector in Nigeria is generally faced with some crippling constraints such as high cost of production arising from devaluation of the local currency, high interest rate, increasing ...more

South Africa
South Africa follows a policy of compliance to standards and as achieved wider penetration into global markets than many other African countries. However, it remains important to build on its existing standards and compliance infrastructure especially with regard to regulatory standards. Fragmentation of the functions ...more

The responsibility of developing, monitoring and enforcing standards in Uganda falls under different ministries. Implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary requirements is a ...more.

African Trade Promotion Agencies

Intra-African Trade Promotion Programme

African Economic Research Consortium

South Africa
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (WESGRO)

Uganda Manufacturers Association

Contact Information

For additional information please contact John S. Wilson, Lead Economist, World Bank,, 202-473-2065



As part of this work, the Bank released a report on "Standards and Trade: A Voice for AfricaStandards and Global Trade - Book coverStandards and Global Trade in June 2003. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the link between trade, standards, and export success in five countries in Sub- Saharan Africa.



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