Addressing the 55th Council meeting and in his presentation on the current status of ARSO and future plans, the ARSO Secretary General reiterated the importance of the opportunity offered by the 55th Council meeting with regards to:
- Discussions on the ARSO Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022 addressing policy issues on Standardisation in Africa and with regard to the implementation of AUC Strategic programmes and African Priorities.
- Identified Programmes and Strategies for the implementation of the African Standardisation Agenda in the wider African Integration Agenda.
- Awareness Creation among ARSO members, Cameroon Policy makers and citizens.
- Better understanding of ARSO DISNET members of their responsibilities to facilitate information exchange among members to facilitate trade in Africa
- More responsive Council members who understand their mandate
- Understanding the benefit of standardisation and the related activities in economic development of Africa
- Strengthen strategic relationship between ARSO and members
While fielding questions from the Journalists, the Secretary General clarified that ARSO was an intergovernmental Organisation for standardisation responsible for the harmonisation of African standards and conformity Assemenet procedures in Africa to facilitate Intra-African trade which currently standards at 16%.
Dr. Hermogene infoemed the Journalists on the role of ARSO and the standardisation in particular:
- Standardization has a variety of benefits for consumers, but one of the greatest benefits is enhanced network effects. Standards increase compatibility and interoperability between products, allowing information to be shared within a larger network and attracting more consumers to use the new technology, further enhancing network effects.
- Standardization brings increased flexibility, rapid introduction of new products, and the ability to more closely meet individual customer’s needs
- Companies that make the most of standardization opportunities enjoy a head-start over their rivals. They can reduce costs and increase quality. They can reduce the risks they face – both technological risks and market risks. Standards can help to develop the market for products and services based on the newest technologies. Moreover, there are benefits from participating in the standardisation process as well as in using the end results. Companies that participate actively in standards work have a head start on their competitors in adapting to market demands and new technologies, and may enjoy reduced research risks and development costs. Participants can learn much from their fellow participants.
- Standardisation increases the volume of trade, increasing imports as well as exports, and makes an important contribution to macroeconomic growth.
- Standardisation is a key part of the microeconomic infrastructure: it can enable innovation and act as a barrier to undesirable outcomes
The Secretary highlighted the various ARSO Programmes like ARSO Standards Harmonisation under the 13 ARSO THCs, ARSO Conformity Assessment Committee (ARSO CACO), ARSO Consumers Committee (ARSO COCO), ARSO Documentation and Information Management Systems (ARSO DISNET) and emphasising the need for all African countries to participate in the Africa’s standardisation Agenda under ARSO as an inclusive approach to the standardization process is desirable, especially in the long term, in particular to the Africa’s integration and the establishment and management of Africa Continental Free Trade Area