1. What does ARSO stand for?
The acronym ARSO stands for African Regional Organization for Standardization currently the African Organization for Standardization.
2. When was ARSO established, is ARSO a governmental organization?
The African Organization for Standardization, formerly the African Regional Organization for Standardization (ARSO) traces its genesis to the unfolding events and the prevailing mood of the African socio-political and economic Pan-Africanism of the 1970s and the culmination of which at a Conference held at the historic and important city of Accra, Ghana.
The African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) is Africa’s intergovernmental standards body formed by OAU (currently AU) and UNECA in 1977 in Accra Ghana. The Organization holds the Standardization sector in Africa and its membership comprises NSBs of African countries. The General Assembly, Council and General Secretariat constitute the Organs of ARSO.
3. What is the mandate of ARSO?
The fundamental mandate of ARSO is to develop tools for standards development, standards harmonization and implementation of these systems to enhance Africa’s internal trading capacity, increased Africa’s product and service competitiveness globally, and uplift of the welfare of African consumers as well as standardization forum for future prospects in international trade referencing.
In carrying out its mandate, ARSO seeks to:
- Harmonize national and/or sub-regional standards as African Standards and issue necessary recommendations to member bodies for this purpose.
- Initiate and co-ordinate the development of African Standards (ARS) with references to products which are of peculiar interest to Africa.
- Encourage and facilitate adoption of international standards by member bodies.
- Promote and facilitate exchange of experts, information and co-operation in training of personnel in standardization activities.
- Co-ordinate the views of its members at the ISO, IEC, OIML, Codex and other international Organizations concerned with Standardization activities.
- Create appropriate bodies in addition to the organs of the organization for the purposes of fulfilling its objectives.
4. Where are the ARSO Headquarters?
Upon its inception ARSO was hosted by Ghana until the political upheavals necessitated its movement into Kenya. ARSO has been hosted by the Government of the Republic of Kenya, through the Kenya Bureau of Standards in Nairobi, Kenya since 1981 based on the Headquarters Agreement signed between the Government of the Republic of Kenya and ARSO.
The offices of the Central Secretariat are based at the 3rd Floor of International House, Mama Ngina Street, within the Central Business District of Nairobi City.
5. How are standards developed?
The standards are developed through the Technical Harmonization Committees (THC). The THC which comprises of the technical director and a team of experts adopt some standards from the National Standardization Bodies (NSBs) and International standardization Organization (ISO) to come up with a draft of the harmonized ARSO standards.
6. Can anyone join ARSO?
The membership of ARSO is open to all African countries through the National Standards Bodies (NSBs) and where no such body exists in a country membership shall be open to Departments dealing in standards and quality or a government nominated body concerned with standardization and designated for that purpose by the government of that country. Eligible bodies acquire membership of ARSO in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
7. Which are the ARSO member states
Currently the membership stands at 35 African Countries. The member States make up the delegations to the ARSO Technical Harmonisation Committees. They participate in the General Assembly and ratifies the decisions of the Council. They finance the programmes and activities through annual subscriptions.
8. Where do ARSO funds come from?
ARSO gets its funding from donors for specific projects and funding of projects from organizations such as the UN, UNECA.
Member states membership subscriptions as per their annual GNDP is also part of the ARSO funding.
9. Does ARSO work compete with NSB work?
ARSO work doesn’t compete with NSB work, ARSO principle activities is to;
- Harmonize national and / or RECs standards and issue necessary recommendations to RECs and Member bodies for this purpose.
- Initiate and coordinate the development of African Standards with references to products which are of particular interest to Africa.
- Encourage and facilitate adoption of International standards by member bodies.
- Promote and facilitate the exchange of experts, information and cooperation in training of personnel in standardization activities.
- Co-ordinate the views of its members at the ISO, IEC, OIML, CODEX and other International Organizations concerned with standardization activities.
- Create appropriate bodies in addition to the organs of the Organization for the purpose of fulfilling its objectives.
NSBs work is to;
- Develop and publish national standards in line with internationally recognized practices Promote and facilitate the use of standards as the basis for the development of technical regulations.
- Provide standards and standard related information to the public and private sectors.
- Represent ARSO member states on relevant regional and international standardization organizations.