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Ethiopian NMI signs the CIPM MRA

Inspired by Ethiopia's goal of achieving middle-income status by 2025 and encouraged by its decade-long record of above 10 % annual GDP growth, the National Metrology Institute of Ethiopia (NMIE) and its sister National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) institutions are strongly motivated to be recognized contributors to their country's success story. Joining the international metrology system as an Associate of the CGPM with effect from 1 January 2018, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), responsible for the NQI in Ethiopia, encouraged NMIE to sign the CIPM MRA as soon as possible after that date. The DG of NMIE, Dr Abdu Abagibe, thus signed the document at the BIPM on the 8 January 2018.

Ethiopia adopted the metric system as the nation's legal system of measurement in all commercial and technical activities in 1963 (Proclamation 208 of 1963) and published the applicable Weights and Measures Regulations in 1967. The responsibility for enforcing and administering the Weights and Measures Proclamation and Regulations was given to the Ethiopian Standards Institution (ESI) in 1972. The SI units were adopted through the approval of relevant Ethiopian Standards and the country officially joined the OIML as a full member in 1974 (OIML Bulletin 54, 1974). In the same article in OIML Bulletin 54, the absence of a National Metrology Laboratory was identified as the major problem impeding the further development of a proper Weights and Measures system in Ethiopia. ESI was later changed into the Ethiopian Authority for Standardization (EAS), mandated for promoting standardization, quality control, quality assurance and certification and metrology, as a sole government organ at the national level. EAS was then further transformed in 1998 into the Quality and Standards Authority of Ethiopia (QSAE) and one of its objectives was stated as establishing "a sound national metrology system as a basic structure for economic development." This objective was the foundation for the establishment of laboratories in the QSAE for keeping the national measurement standards and performing calibrations of other standards and equipment against them.

In a major reform of the National Quality Infrastructure, preceded by the publication of a "Strategy for the Implementation of NQI in Ethiopia" in 2009, QSAE was divided in 2011 into different autonomous entities, including the Ethiopian Standards Agency (ESA), the Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise (ECAE) and the NMIE. A new Institution, the Ethiopian National Accreditation Office was also created in the process and all four core NQI institutions are now located on a joint campus in Addis Ababa, which was previously occupied by QSAE.

Since its formation in 2011 as a separate NQI Institution, the NMIE has consolidated and expanded its offered services and supplemented them with two mobile calibration laboratories. Many of its key calibration services have already been accredited by the German accreditation body DAkkS. NMIE is also currently benefitting from a World Bank loan taken out by the Ethiopian Government for strengthening and further developing its NQI through a project started in July 2017 and scheduled to continue until June 2022.

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