Giving practical expression to the African Union (AU) commitment to the unification of Africa into a single market via standardisation and the establishment of a continental free trade area, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will play roles in ARSO President’s Forum.
Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) director general and African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) president Dr Joseph Ikem Odumodu disclosed this in a chat with newsmen in his office in Abuja. According to the SON chief, Vice President Osinbajo will declare the Forum open while President Buhari will declare open one of the Forum’s features – Africa Standardisation Day Seminar. The Forum takes place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja; 22-24 June, 2015. It is being hosted by SON and ARSO.
Country Representative of the Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Nigeria Dr Louise Setshwaelo will be the keynote speaker at the seminar. The seminar theme is the Role of Standards in Promoting Agriculture and Food Security in Africa. Dr Odumodu said that the opening ceremony will be followed by CEOs of national standards bodies in Africa and manufacturers and service providers going into a technical session to consider the odds against free trade among African countries and strategize for their removal through appropriate ARSO standardisation programmes.” This takes place on the first day.
Across the three days of the Forum, a trade fair tagged ARSO Made in Africa Expo will be in progress, Dr Odumodu also said. “The fair is open to both certified and uncertified products since SON places high premium on Nigeria products coming to the notice of the continent and indeed the world. We believe that manufacturers could, by being a part of this Forum, learn to embrace standards without anyone imposing it on them,” he added.
In a similar vein, the chairman of the ARSO President’s Forum Local Organizing Committee, Dr Paul Angya lauded the immense benefit of the three-day event. He said that business owners’ interaction with the national standards bodies’ CEOs will initiate a relationship that gives them an edge over their competitors who are also seeking access to the same markets of other African countries ahead of the proposed continental free trade area and the fusion of the countries into a single market. Citing the ARSO Made in Africa Expo, Dr Angya who is a director in SON said that ten best exhibiting companies would be selected to the AU Council of Ministers Made in Africa Trade Fair which takes place in Egypt later in the year