ARSO leaders meet, chart path for anti-dumping, harmonisation

As Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of National Standards Bodies (NSBs) in Africa meet today for the African Organisation for Standardization’s (ARSO) President’s Forum in Abuja, key issues of expanding membership, harmonising standards and strengthening the continent’s anti-dumping policies, will form part of key discussions of the leaders.

Specifically, the forum, which would aid the gathering of about 34 CEOs of NSBs in Africa, including top-brass of bilateral, multi-national, continental and global agencies, would further address the importance of standardization in achieving an integrated continent as well as exploring other mechanisms for growth.

According to a statement from the body, the harmonisation of standards and mobilisation of all NSBs into the membership of ARSO would drive the standardization programmes necessary for the strengthening of the competitiveness of Made-in-Africa products as well as engender regional and continental fusion into an economic bloc.

Already, the AUC had set a target of an African Free Trade zone by 2017 and also declared the date as the African Year of Standards to jumpstart intra-Africa trade that is currently around five percent and symbol of the heavy dependence of Africa on the rest of the world.

According to ARSO President, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, the prime objective of the forum is to remove the restrictions to trade between African countries placed by the differences in the standards governing trade in the different countries.

The forum, which is expected to have all the CEOs in charge of NSBs in attendance, would equally provide a veritable avenue for Africa’s integration, removal of all Technical barriers to trade, anti-dumping, common standardisation policies for integration, competitiveness and economic emancipation.

Odumodu while explaining the rationale behind this year’s event, said: “Every organism prospers by utilizing the material which every part supplies. But hardly does Africa draw strength from the trade the different countries in the continent engage in because, separated by standards, the countries hardly trade among themselves. Now, ARSO President’s Forum Abuja 2015 is bringing 55 heads of national standards bodies (NSB) in Africa together to open the gates of harmonization of standards and let goods and services flow smoothly across the continent.

“Sitting at a roundtable with 55 NSB CEOs is a rare opportunity for entrepreneurs to expand their business to other African countries. By participating in the ARSO president’s forum, companies are automatically at the gates of fifty-five African countries and are a
step to the 1.1 billion consumers in the continent. Imagine when they now establish relationships with the NSB CEOs.

“What we are doing now is to create a forum for everybody to be part of ARSO in preparation and for realization of the 2017 CFTA agreement.”

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