Exporting to Africa

Exporting to Africa

How to comply with export and import standards and achieve smooth customs clearance

Many governments within the African continent have put stringent requirements in place to ensure their consumers are protected from

sub-standard products and goods.


Pre-Shipment Inspection, Destination Inspection, Product Conformity or Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) to Standards are the types of programmes that have been implemented not only to verify safety and performance of goods but also to ensure that correct import duty revenues are paid.


Traders exporting to these countries need to be fully aware of applicable requirements since failure to comply with them can be costly, leading to potential delays in Customs clearance, financial penalties or even goods being returned to the port of origin.


Intertek has been working in the region for many years and as an Accredited Certification Body we have been assessed and approved by the applicable government departments in the importing countries meaning that we are competent to test and certify your shipments.


Nigeria is one such country that has implemented a programme called SONCAP (Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme). Exporters are required to initially obtain a Product Certificate for the regulated products they wish to export to Nigeria.


Once the product certificate has been issued, the importer uses this to open the ‘Form M’ through the bank in Nigeria. After this the exporter

prepares the shipment and on review of the shipment document, a SONCAP certificate is issued. This certificate is used to clear the consignment at Customs when the shipment arrives in Nigeria.


SONCAP verifies the conformity of all products except those that are on Central Bank of Nigeria’s ‘Exempted list’ and enforces their standards. Compliance to SONCAP requirements is applicable in addition to any other existing import processes.


The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), a statutory organisation of the government of Kenya, has implemented guidelines called the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) to Standards Programme.


All consignments subject to PVoC must obtain a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) which is issued by an authorised PVoC Agent, such as Intertek, prior to shipment. Consignments without this document will be denied entry into the country. The CoC is issued after a technical verification of the product based on testing and inspection is carried out.


In exceptional cases, and at the sole discretion of KEBS, specific consignments may be allowed to undergo destination inspections after receiving the appropriate application from importers, such consignments will be subject to a penalty of 15% of the CIF value of the goods, plus 15% bond, and the testing and inspection costs. All other expenses incurred at destination will be borne solely by the importer.


Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) is implementing a PvoC programme from 1st February 2012. Intertek has been approved by TBS to support this programme by supplying services to issue the PvoC Certificate to exporters.


Exports to Botswana need to comply with the requirements of the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) Import Inspections Regulations (SIIR) to Standards Programme in order for their goods to clear customs.


The Botswana SIIR has been implemented by the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS). ‘Regulated Products’ exported to Botswana that are within the programme require a Certificate of Compliance. The Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) has granted Intertek an accreditation to issue the Certificate of Conformity (CoC) for products regulated within the provisions of the Standards Import Inspection Regulations (SIIR). SIIR has been implemented since 1st April 2009.


For exports to Mozambique regulated goods (known as the Positive List) may be subject to pre-shipment inspection in the country of export before they are allowed into Mozambique. Goods on the Positive List must comply with these regulations and must be accompanied by a Documento Unico Certificado (DUC). All Second Hand Vehicles destined for Mozambique require a physical quality inspection to verify for customs purposes the declared value before being issued with the DUC.


The Algerian Ministry of Commerce published a note in March 2011 to all importers reminding them of the obligation to submit a proof of conformity for all shipments entering Algerian territory; this is to ensure that they meet legal and regulatory requirements that affect them.

Intertek is able to assist exporters to Algeria in complying with this notice by offering inspection services to obtain the necessary Certificate of Conformity.