OPINION

ZED @ 23rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF AFRICAN ORGANISATION FOR STANDARDIZATION (ARSO)

The 23rd General Assembly of ARSO has been held at a time when the African Continent is focusing on the implementation of AU’s Agenda 2063 which is a roadmap to ensure greater Manufacturing and Industrialisation of the Continent, and Women Empowerment with women playing active role in both social, political and economic development. The African Leaders and experts are calling for greater manufacturing, industrialisation and integration in Africa and the Continent is celebrating the year 2017 as year for the Quality Infrastructure in Africa, to create awareness on how Quality Infrastructure can play a major role in Africa’s Industrialisation and sustainable development. The Zero Defect Zero Effect (ZED) concept and India’s roadmap towards enhancing the global competitiveness of Indian MSMEs was shared with the participating nations during the 23rd ARSO General Assembly which was also attended by representatives of the African Union Council.  

ARSOis an intergovernmental Organisation established by Organization of African Unity (OAU, currently African Union (AU)) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in 1977, with 21 African Governments as founding members. The principal mandate of ARSO is to harmonize African?Standards and conformity assessment procedures in?order to reduce Technical Barriers to Trade and therefore promote intra-African and international Trade as well as enhance the industrialization of Africa.Currently ARSO has 36 member States (Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, New State of Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The General Assembly that meets once a year, and composed of the ARSO members, is the Supreme organ of ARSO while the Council consisting of the President with a minimum of number of six or a maximum of twelve active Member Bodies administers the ARSO.

The 23rd ARSO General Assembly was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Burkina Faso, through, the Agency for Standardization, metrology and quality (ABNORM). One of the ABNORM key objectives is to cover all priority areas of Burkina Faso in Standardization (including the sectors food, electrical engineering, the environment and the building and civil engineering). The events were held on 26th – 30th June 2017 in the City of Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso with delegates from all African countries and from around the world. Ouagadougou, or as the locals simply call it, Ouaga, is a truly African capital. The QCI team was represented by Dr. A. Raj, Senior Director and Mr. Mohit Singh, Deputy Director. The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, agriculture, and human resources of the continent. As of 2012, approximately 1.07 billion peoplewere living in 54 different countries in Africa. Africa is a resource-rich continent but many African people are poor.Recent growth has been due to growth in sales in commodities, services, and manufacturing. Sub Saharan Africa, in particular, is expected to reach a GDP of $29 trillion by 2050 but its income inequality will be a major deterrent in wealth distribution. In March 2013, Africa was identified as the world’s poorest inhabited continent; however, the World Bank expects that most African countries will reach “middle income” status (defined as at least US$1,000 per person a year) by 2025 if current growth rates continue. In 2013, Africa was the world’s fastest-growing continent at 5.6% a year, and GDP is expected to rise by an average of over 6% a year between 2013 and 2023.Growth has been present throughout the continent, with over one-third of Sub-Saharan African countries posting 6% or higher growth rates, and another 40% growing between 4% to 6% per year.

The Events of the 23rd ARSO General Assembly, chaired by the ARSO President, Dr. Eve Gadzikwa, included:

  • 56th ARSO Council Meeting
  • ARSO Training (global quality?challenge- Business approach?to the role of NSB)
  • 5th African Day of Standardisation. The theme for 5th African day of standardisation is “Celebrating the year 2017 as the Year of Quality Infrastructure in Africa”. The activities include:
  • Official opening of the 23rd General assembly
  • Presentations and Discussions on the theme under four Sessions.
  • 4th ARSO Standardisation Essay Competition Awards to the African Youths.
  • 23rd ARSO General Assembly
  • Open Forum: Industrial Visits, Members and Stakeholders Open General Assembly Workshop
  • Made in Africa EXPO: To run concurrently with the events

 

The QCI team attended the ARSO General Assembly, events of which were held under theme “Celebrating the year 2017 as the Year of Quality Infrastructure in Africa” “Role of standardization for Better quality and better life within a continental free trade Area”. In the inaugural, it was highlighted by the Minister that the continent had made significant progress in development, particularly in terms of economic growth, social development, democratization, human capital development, peace promotion and political stability, and highlighted the challenges the continent face despite the growth.