CATAS “EPF FOR AFRICA” Initiative boosts ties between Europe and Africa

African delegates at CATAS headquarters and research centre in San Giovanni al Natisone, Italy.

The African wood industry deepened ties with its European counterparts during a week-long exchange at CATAS, a research and certification institute and test laboratory for the wood products sector.


The visit was part of the CATAS “EPF for Africa” initiative and saw 30 delegates, mostly from Algeria, Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya meeting key personnel at the headquarters and research centre in San Giovanni al Natisone, Italy.

Paolo Fantoni, EPF-European Panel Federation president, reinforced the importance of mutual understanding and potential for European and African countries to work together. He stressed that “speaking the same language and sharing precise standards is essential.”

“North African countries are going through great demographic changes, urban expansion and housing growth,” Fantoni said. “The purpose of EPF is help the development of high quality production and support standards testing according to specifications well-established in Europe.”

During the week, several visits and talks were also held. Paolo Tirelli, CATAS head of the Mechanical Department introduced the European and international standards for evaluating panels; Sandro Ciroi from the Formaldehyde Department, shared about safety issues concerning formaldehyde emissions; activities of the CEN and ISO technical committees were also presented.

Andrea Giavon, managing director of CATAS, said, “These two days allowed us to inform our African colleagues on CATAS standards as well as understand business possibilities in Africa.”

Mr Giavon added that speaking with panel manufacturers, standardisation delegates, laboratories technicians and representatives of trade associations was further confirmation that many opportunities for collaboration exist, boosting economic and cultural engagement.