Business News of Sunday, 1 March 2020
The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) will host the 2020 ARSO African Day of Standardization, which is aimed at enforcing the importance of Standardization and Conformity Assessment in ensuring quality on the continent.
The day is also intended to celebrate the role that National Standards bodies like the Ghana Standards Authority will play towards the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation.
The event, scheduled for March 25 to 27 in Accra, is to create more awareness among African Regulators, Industry, Academia, Consumers, Policy Makers and African Citizens on the benefits of Standardization and the related Quality Infrastructure Components.
The principal mandate of the African Organisation for Standardization (ARSO) is to harmonise African Standards and Conformity Assessment procedures in order to reduce Technical Barriers to Trade and therefore promote intra-African and international trade.
ARSO membership is drawn from African countries through their National Bureaus of Standards and currently, ARSO has 37-member States and activities are being implemented within the 2017-2022 ARSO Strategic Plan.
Under the ARSO Strategic Plan, members are to develop high-quality standards and related deliverables and ensure that African standards are adopted and applied as national and sub-regional standards.
The idea of an African Day of Standardisation was approved at the 49th ARSO Council held on 14th – 15th November, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya, making emphasis on the national celebrations in ARSO Member States and at continental level during the ARSO General Assembly events in June every year.
Later, March 21 each year, was adopted as the African Day of Standardisation, due to the importance of the date in the Africa Integration Calendar, given the Signing of the AfCFTA Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda by the African Heads of State.
Like the World Standards Day, the initiative for the African Day of Standardisation is for the commemoration of the establishment and foundation of ARSO by the African Union (formerly OAU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The African Day of Standardisation Forum responds to various ARSO Strategic Objectives within the 2017-2022 ARSO Strategic Plan, including aligning African Standards with globally accepted international standards which are consistent with Africa’s development needs; and to ensure that ARSO’s activities and deliverables effectively support Africa’s regional integration processes.
It also seeks to ensure that major economic actors in strategically important sectors of national and sub-regional economies are aware of trade related benefits of regionally and internationally harmonised standards.
It further seeks to ensure that national and sub-regional policy and decision makers have sufficient understanding of the available policy instruments for technical harmonisation and the crucial role of standards in particular.
It aims to promote the adoption and implementation of African standards responding to the most important sectors in Africa and to ensure best possible opportunities for the exchange of information and experience and thus for joint learning processes for the benefit of (potential) ARSO members and stakeholder.
This year’s African Day of Standardisation will also witness the first “Buy Made in Africa Expo” which would be held concurrently to showcase quality products made by manufacturers in Africa. Awards will also be presented to best products and companies in selected categories.