UNIDO-EU funded Project: Chief Technical Advisor highlights success in stakeholder training on WTO-TBT


By Alhaji Haruna Sani

Dr. Hussain Shaukat, the Chief Technical Advisor for the European Union-funded project implemented by UNIDO, shed light on the project’s substantial impact in a recent exclusive interview.

The project, backed by EU funds, is actively contributing to three vital areas including accredited lab among others. He said the project is lending crucial support to SMEs in implementing diverse standards necessary for exporting products.

Notably, assistance is provided in implementing the Quality Management System standard to meet European Union requirements.

A significant facet of the initiative, Dr. Shaukat said involves support for the cooperative system, particularly concerning food safety and cooperative farmers are receiving guidance in implementing Good Agricultural Practices for Cocoa and Cassava, aligning with European Union stipulations.

He said the project is leveraging international experts, is extensively engaged in supporting various sectors of Sierra Leone, including factories, companies, SMEs, private sectors, and industries.

Dr. Shaukat emphasized their commitment to supporting the government in policy implementation, developing the capacities of key stakeholders across several ministries, including Trade and Industry, the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau, Produce Monitoring Board, Agriculture, Health, and others.

The training sessions, conducted by international experts recommended by the World Trade Organization (WTO), revolve around Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), aligning with WTO requirements.

Noteworthy, he mentioned is the upcoming establishment of the TBT enquiry point in Sierra Leone next month, aimed at enhancing private sector understanding of diverse international regulations.

He said the ongoing five-day training for 32 individuals involved in export activities will be extended to other stakeholders in trade and export sectors across the country.

He stressed that after the training, participants will be equipped with the necessary skills to effectively use the WTO Software on TBT.

Highlighting the operational National Notification Centre for the past three years, Shaukat emphasized Sierra Leone’s WTO membership and the need for a comprehensive understanding of TBT under the WTO framework. “The ongoing training initiative, spanning two years, is now in its final phase,” he said.

In concluding remarks, Shaukat underscored the vital importance of establishing the TBT enquiry center, emphasizing the economic challenges that can arise when the business sector lacks awareness of WTO’s TBT regulations.

The EU-UNIDO project stands as a beacon in empowering Sierra Leone with the knowledge and tools to navigate international trade standards successfully.


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