27 No. 2
Standardization of Analytical Approaches and Analytical Capacity-Building in Africa
A World Bank study in 2003 determined that a major barrier to the export of commodities from many African countries is the inability of laboratories in those countries to provide test results that meet international standards. A new cooperative project among IUPAC’s Analytical Chemistry Division, the Chemistry and the Environment Division, and IOCD* seeks to upgrade selected laboratories in Africa so they can produce reliable and internationally accepted analytical results. This will help farmers and enterprises in the private sector to export commodities to markets in the USA, European Union, and Japan, where compliance with international standards is required.
During phase one of the project, IOCD, in partnership with regulatory groups, Ugandan officials, and others, will first find out which laboratories and products are involved and what standards need to be met for specific Ugandan products. For phase two, an IOCD task group of five chemists (including two Africans) will visit Uganda and work closely with individuals in government and the private sector (economists, regulatory officials, farmers and entrepreneurs, laboratory managers, and staff scientists), to establish remedial measures jointly identified by the laboratories to build analytical capacity. Phase three will involve implementing these remedial measures Funding for the third phase will be requested from Ugandans, IUPAC, UNESCO, and other sources.
The support and involvement of IUPAC will be particularly critical in human capacity building (e.g., fellowships, expert visitors, workshops) and in laboratory upgrading (e.g., proficiency testing, quality assurance, research). IUPAC has generously contributed USD10 000 for a three-year period to sponsor training sessions. UNESCO, ALMA (the African Language Materials Archive program), and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences also have agreed to help.
Constructive feedback from IUPAC members and others would be appreciated.
*IOCD is the International Organization for Chemical Sciences in Development; see May-June 2002 CI or <www.iocd.org>.
For more information, contact Task Group Chairman Walter R. Benson <WBenson270@aol.com>.
last modified 7 March 2005.
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