African countries have been urged to fully appreciate the role of standards, metrology and conformity assessment in value addition, industrialization, market creation and access in the bid to promote its economies on continental and global scales.
The Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment. Mr. Charles Mwijage, made the remark recently during the 22nd ARSO General Assembly and 54th Council Meeting in Arusha. This year’s ARSO meeting themed ‘the roles of standardization in women’s empowerment towards agenda 2063’ drew participants from 37 African countries.
Mwijage said that insufficient knowledge and lack of awareness on the need and importance of standardization especially amongst government policy makers, industries consumers and the general public is a major obstacle which needs to be worked upon.
He further said that lack of knowledge and skills to implement requirements standards especially amongst small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is a serious issue while SMEs are supposed to be the engine of growth in African countries.
Mr. Mwijage added that African countries need to address these issues that will put more pressure on African producers on the need for the adoption of standards not only to improve products and services to meet increasingly demanding customer expectations, but also to enhance their opportunities for expansion into new export markets.
“Unlike in the developed countries where standardisation is industry -driven (bottom up), standardization processes in Africa are government -led with a top-down approach and the implementation of standards is generally voluntary, partly because it is difficult to enforce standards when seller market conditions prevail for raw materials and for finished products in the industrial sectors,” he elaborated.
Earlier on, while opening the meeting, Arusha Regional Commissioner Mr. Felix Ntibenda urged bureaux in Africa to come up with a joint strategy which will help prevent the continent from being turned into a dump ground for sub-standard products.
He said the continent is facing the challenge of being a destination of sub standard products adding that is the time for all African countries to cooperate in ending the problem.
On his part, TBS Director General Mr. Joseph Masikitiko, said that a special committee met and discuss a joint strategy for controlling substandard products in Africa and for the betterment of ARSO’s future.
According to Masikitiko, ARSO member states indicated African countries’ commitment on standardization for trade facilitation in Africa and beyond Africa, with resolutions which are implementable within African countries.
Among other resolutions made were inauguration of the ARSO President, Dr. Eve Gadzikwa and Director General of Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) for the term of 2016 – 2019 and election of 12 ARSO Council members for the same term.
“All these activities have been conducted harmoniously with unity, indicating commitment of African countries on trade facilitation amongst themselves,” said Masikitiko.
Kindly click the links below to download speech of minister for industry, trade and investment as well as a welcoming address of Arusha Regional Commissioner: