22 African countries meet in Ghana to discuss standards to improve trade

The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) is hosting a series of Technical Committee (TC) meetings on the harmonisation of African Standards for cocoa, coffee, tea, cassava value chain products and ecolabelling, sustainability and resilient systems.

The meetings are being held in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, through the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) from March 25- 28, 2024, in Ada.

Food and agriculture experts from various African standardisation fields have converged on Ghana to deliberate and harmonise these standards to improve on the products and enhance intra-African trade.

Addressing stakeholders at the meeting, Professor Alex Dodoo, the ARSO President who is also the Director-General of the GSA, in recognising the efforts of the experts, noted that their work has enabled ARSO to become powerful in championing the cause of standardisation on the continent.

‘The 22 countries gathered here today are ambassadors of trade and are game changers in the world. Africa will soon no
t be takers of standards but will be makers of global standards and will change the world,’ he said.

He further encouraged the participants to uphold the very essence of standardisation and have fruitful deliberations during the meetings.

The Secretary-General for ARSO, Dr. Hermogène Nsengimana, for his part, appreciated the works of the experts and revealed that ARSO, through the GSA, recently challenged the international standards on Cocoa which were not helping farmers and it led to the development of African Standards on Cocoa which is benefiting the industry.

‘It’s time Africa stands up and start pushing for change. We can dictate the market where Africa is leading in the production of certain products. This will lead to the development of our industry and promote growth and trade on the continent,’ he noted.

ARSO, in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), is implementing a project on Harmonisation and Certification of African Standards for Dairy, Horticulture, Fisheries and Aquacult
ure Products.

The objective of building capacity of Standardisation institutions, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), through the implementation of harmonised standards on the above mentioned products, hence support increased market access under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The experts attending the TC meetings are from Egypt, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Liberia, Gabon, Ghana, DR Congo, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Togo, Kenya, Rwanda, among others.

Source: Ghana News Agency