Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and President African Organization of Standards (ARSO) Dr. Joseph Odumodu has identified lack of standards for the low level of trade between African countries and the rest of the world. Odumodu who was speaking at the opening ceremony of the African Organization of Standards (ARSO) yesterday in Abuja said trade between the continent and the rest of the world which currently stands at 3 percent will improve when the quality of products coming out of the continent improves.
The Director General, who also doubles as the President of ARSO noted under standardization this can it changed. “The current state of globalized world trade requires the standardisation products and services in line with the requirements of the WTO and its attendant regulations on technical barriers to trade and sanitary and photo sanitary measures,” “Standards are crucial for the orderly and efficient flow of goods and services in domestic and international trade,” he added.
He therefore, urged the continent’s Standards Boards to brave the challenge of low standards and consolidate active commitments towards new priorities, strategies and targets for achieving the Standardization Agenda to promote the philosophy of One Standard, One Test, One Measurement that will be accepted everywhere.
“Pooling together of ARSO, by African countries will promote involvement in regional and continental standardization, reduce regulatory variety across Africa and ensure availability of uniform and consistent African standards for promoting Africa and global trade and it will also improve participation in international standardization to help shape the future of African industries, Organizations, countries and continent as a whole,” he said. The Secretary General of ARSO, Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, in his welcome address noted that with increasing globalization of trade, it was imperative for African countries to ensure they conform to Standards and Conformity Assessment which according to him are ‘pillars’ that underpin the global trading system.
As a result, Nsengimana said it has significantly raised the profile of the need for a well-coordinated Quality Infrastructure in Africa to ensure participation in the global trading system. “It is acknowledged that many developing countries in Africa face significant standardization challenges, including inability to adequately participate in international standards development and lack of the basic technical infrastructure for conformity assessment activities. “This makes it impossible for them to effectively participate in global trading activities, becoming signatories to international agreements, developing a strong base for sustainable economic development and slowing the process of Africa’s quest for deeper integration into the Global system.”