In pursuit of a better Quality Infrastructure for the effective management of the Continental Free Trade Area, ARSO joined the other PAQI institutions (AFRAC, AFRIMETS and AFSEC) at the 9th Steering Committee meeting in Kigali, Rwanda on 6th-8th February 2017 focussing on the TBT Chapter of the Continental Free Trade Area negotiations. The meeting was held in the side-lines of the African Union/CFTA Technical Working Group on the Technical Barriers to Trade (TWG/TBT/SPS) held from 9-10th February 2017 in Kigali Rwanda to continue strategising for a strong, sustainable and integrated approach to the continent’s quality infrastructure, encompassing metrology, standards, accreditation and quality assurance and as a major player in the implementation of the CFTA and for the celebrations of the 2017 as year of African Quality Infrastructure. Currently, the African Union/CFTA Technical Working Group on the Technical Barriers to Trade (TWG/TBT/SPS) have developed the TBT/SPS Policy documents to address the TBT/SPS Issues within the CFTA. PAQI is calling for
- A robust legislative and regulatory framework that will set up a system for technical regulations to be supported by voluntary standards;
- A strong voluntary standardization system in support of the implementation of the CFTA;
- A conformity assessment and market surveillance system strengthened at continental level;
The meeting also discussed the activities of the PAQI Institutions in the celebrations of the 2017 as the year of Quality Infrastructure in Africa.
Made in Africa Advocacy- Addressing Manufacturing in Africa
Under the Theme Made In Africa As A Pillar For African Economic Integration, Industrialisation And Transformation Agenda, ARSO held its 2nd Arso President Forum and Made in Africa Conference and Expo 2017 on 1st – 4th March 2017 at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Available data highlights that virtually all cases of high, rapid and sustained economic growth in modern economic development have been associated with industrialization, particularly growth in manufacturing production (UNCTAD – Policy Brief, No. 27, August 2013). Industry was key to the explosive and continued growth in Asia and Europe, and without concentration on or support of the manufacturing sector, African economies are not likely to replicate those convergence dynamics (Rodrik, 2014). Experts have revealed that in many African countries, a relatively small manufacturing sector reduces the potential for participation Global trade and regional value chains and provides additional incentives for specialisation in primary sectors. Mr. Alexis Akwagyiram, in an article, Made in Africa: Is manufacturing taking off on the continent? BBC Africa (2014) points out that several African countries have enjoyed economic growth in recent years but there are fears that a failure to develop manufacturing could prove to be costly. He points out that “Made in China” is a stamp that is ubiquitous and can be found on a wide range of objects – anything from T-shirts and shoes, to watches and televisions – worldwide. The same is true of labels showing that an object originated in Taiwan or Vietnam. But it is rare to find an object which has a mark that points to origins in African country – “Made in Nigeria” or “Made in Chad”, for example. The concern is, Africa only commands meagre 1.5% share of the world’s total manufacturing output with strong indication that the current trend is likely to continue through 2015 (UNIDO 2013). This is against 24.7% for Europe, 21.7% share for the Asia Pacific region, 17.2% for East Asia and North America’s 22.4% share, 5.8% Latin America.
The event was meant to create more awareness on the need for manufacturing and trading in African Products and the importance of Quality Infrastructure in the process. In his speech, the Chief Guest, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr. Mike Dimba highlighted that that standards are the backbone of manufacturing and trade and Made in Africa is a way of facilitating manufacturing and industrialisation and Quality Infrastructure as the determining factor. The vent was attended by representatives of Sixteen (16) African countries (Benin, Botswana, DR Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Observer Missions (ACP-EU-TBT Programme, UNECA, RECs (ECOWAS) and Zimbabwe Companies, His Worship the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Victoria Falls, and the Officials of the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe.