Stakeholders in the electrical, electronics, and related technologies field have been urged to embrace the use of established International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards to gain a competitive edge in the global market, thus driving economic growth and innovation.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ luncheon hosted by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), The Kenya National Committee of the IEC (KNCIEC), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the KEBS Director, Legal and Corporation Secretary, Miriam Kahiro emphasized the need for experts’ participation in the standards development process at IEC to make it easier for adoption at the National level.
In February 2022, Kenya started participating in the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, popularly known as the IECEE, Certification Body Scheme for Destination Inspection of electrical and electronic products. The scheme requires that national standards are fully harmonized with the IEC standards. “This is in line with the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), the economic blueprint for Kenya. While the IEC and BETA operate at different levels and with distinct objectives, their work converges in the pursuit of economic development and progress”, noted Mrs. Kahiro.
The Director reiterated KEBS’ commitment to supporting the IEC Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) in Kenya to execute its mandate and make IEC the home of electrotechnical standards and conformity assessment for electrical and electronic products and systems in Africa. The call of the IEC-AFRC to enhance the adoption and harmonization of IEC standards and IEC Conformity Assessment Systems in the continent will greatly benefit the Africa Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which connects more than 1.3 trillion people across 55 countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) valued at not less than USD 3.4 trillion.
She also thanked the IEC Secretary General for choosing Kenya as one of the beneficiaries of the 350,000 Swiss Francs IEC Global Impact Fund (IEC-GIF). The fund is geared towards e-waste management with an initial focus on recycling and waste management of batteries. The solutions offered through the global impact fund will be implemented by among others, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Through the IEC national contact, the MSME can also garner broad support among national stakeholders. “We look forward to working with Aceleron, the implementing agency of the fund, to ensure maximum benefits are realized from the 350,000.00 Swiss Francs funds towards “turning battery e-waste into e-resources”. she added.
The IEC Secretary General and CEO Philippe Metzger was on a two-day visit to Kenya to strengthen collaboration between KEBS and IEC, fostering advancements in standardization, conformity assessment, and the promotion of innovation within the electrical and electronic sectors. “It is a privilege to visit Kenya and engage in fruitful discussions with KEBS. The collaboration between IEC and KEBS plays a pivotal role in facilitating trade, fostering innovation, and ensuring the safety and quality of electrical and electronic products,” Metzger said.
During the visit, the IEC executive engaged with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, Kenya National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (KNCIEC) and other industry stakeholders. The discussions focused on the importance of international standards and conformity assessment in driving innovation, ensuring product quality, and facilitating international trade in the field of electrical and electronic technology. The conversations also included initiatives for capacity building in Kenya, emphasizing the importance of training and education to enhance the skills of professionals involved in the standardization processes.
“In our deliberations, we have urged for collaboration by all stakeholders to heighten surveillance on electrical and electronic goods for a safe and more efficient use of electrical technology”, Metzger told the forum while he shared insights into the IEC’s global initiatives, including efforts to address emerging challenges in the electrical and electronic industries.
Both organizations reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral cooperation in the development and harmonization of standards, saying such collaboration is instrumental in enhancing the competitiveness of Kenyan industries on the global stage.