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Standards in the Way of SMEs

According to the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and the East African Business Council (EABC), failure to understand and meet set product and service standards continues to lock out SMEs from lucrative deals in intra-regional trade, according to experts. This coupled with other tariff and non-tariff barriers including lack of access to information on trade regulations, is being blamed for curtailing the small and medium businesses from participating in cross border trade. SMEs could also lose out in the $1.2bn African Continental Free Trade Area unless the challenges are addressed. SMEs account for up to 80% of businesses in the region, creating up to 60% of jobs and contributing about 50% of the region’s GDP.

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Alastair Tempest

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