Based on the African Standards Harmonisation Model (ASHAM), ARSO harmonises the regional standards into African Standards. Towards this, ARSO has developed the ASHAM Harmonisation Procedure Manual (ASHAM – SHPM).
The Harmonisation process is coordinated by the ARSO Technical Management Committee Chaired by the ARSO President, Nigeria.
Further to this, ARSO has Thirteen (13) Technical Harmonisation Committees (THCs) set to operationalise ASHAM as a basis for the meeting the objectives of the ARSO Strategic Framework for 2009-2014. The THCs include:
- Basic and General Standards
- Agriculture and Food Products
- Building and Civil Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy
- Chemical & Chemical Engineering
- Textiles and Leather
- Transport and Communication
- Environmental Management Systems
- Energy and Natural Resources
- Quality Management Systems
- African Traditional Medicine
| ARSO THC
|1||Basic and General Standards
|| Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Mauritius , Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Senegal, South Africa (12)
|2||Agriculture and Food Products
||Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe (17)
|3||Building and Civil Engineering
||Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania (14)
|4||Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy
||DR Congo, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Gabon , South Africa, Mauritius , Ethiopia (10)
|5||Chemical & Chemical Engineering
||DR Congo, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Gabon, Senegal, Sudan, S. Africa, Zambia (12)
||Mauritius Seychelles, Cameroon
||DR Congo, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Gabon, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Zambia, Mauritius, Cote D’Ivoire, (14)
|7||Textiles and Leather
||Kenya, Sudan, Namibia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Senegal, S. Africa, Mauritius, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire (13)
||Seychelles, DR Congo
|8||Transport and Communication
||Tunisia, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, D R Congo, Ethiopia, Senegal, S. Africa, Mauritius, Cameroon (12)
||DR Congo, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Gabon , Ethiopia, Senegal, S. Africa, Mauritius, Cote D’Ivoire (12)
|10||Energy and Natural Resources
|| Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe (14)
|11||Quality Management Systems
||Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Gabon, Senegal, South Africa, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire (13)
||Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Ethiopia (8)
||Botswana, Seychelles, Democratic Republic Congo, Tanzania, Cameroon
|13||African Traditional Medicine
||Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, S. Africa, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Mauritius, Zimbabwe (12)
||Botswana, Seychelles, Tanzania
|ANALYSIS ON CHAIR AND SECRETARY LEADERSHIP POSITIONS|
|Kenya||THC 1, THC 04, THC 12|
|Ethiopia||THC 09||THC 01, THC 07|
|Nigeria||THC 05, THC 11||THC 05, THC 10|
|South Africa||THC 07, THC 13||THC 04, THC 08, THC 03|
|Tanzania||THC 02||THC 02|
|Mauritius||THC 09, THC 11|
|Rwanda||THC 10||THC 12|
On the other hand, ARSO is set to harmonise African Standard for Mineral Valuation and African Standard Code of Practice for Uranium Mining.
The first ordinary session of African Union Conference of Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development (CAMRMRD) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in a meeting held on 16th and 17th October 2008, adopted Declaration AU/MIN/CAMRMRD/4(1) on the development and management of Africa’s Mineral Resources which formed the roadmap that will optimize the potential benefits of African mineral resources.
ARSO has taken note of the fact that the mineral resource exploitation in the continent of Africa needs the development of guidelines, standards and code of practice to assist African countries to optimize the potential benefits of their mineral resources.
During the 42nd ARSO Council Meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria on 31st March – 1st April 2011, the ARSO Technical Harmonisation Committees were constituted as shown above, based on the expressed interest of ARSO Members.
ARSO was formed in 1977 with the principal mandate to harmonise 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. It is envisaged that, within the framework of the African Union and African Union Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry will establish a common policy for harmonization of standards in Africa as laid out in the AUC Strategic plan for 2009 – 2012.
The ARSO Technical Harmonisation Committees will give Africa an impetus towards greater participation in the flow of global trade and boost its own internal trade while taking into consideration preferential systems on bilateral and multilateral basis. With one common standard in all the African countries and every conflicting national standard withdrawn, a product could reach a far wider market with much lower development and testing costs.
Harmonised standards and Common Technical Regulation policies will lead to the much envisaged African Common Market as per the Abuja Treaty of 1991, for goods and services and position Africa in the global economy. The Harmonisation process through the ARSO Standards Harmonisation Model (ASHAM) will foster competitiveness of the African industries, the African Integration and the subsequent African economy in global trading system and thus contribute positively to the welfare of European citizens.
It known that many of African exports, now enjoy, at least in principle, duty-free access to major developed country markets, in particular the European Union (EU), thanks to harmonisation of standards to international standards which has concrete benefits through trade expansion. Therefore efforts to promote African exports of manufactures should be complemented by measures to reduce the cost impacts of product standards, including efforts to harmonise national and RECs standards with international norm.