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African Organisation for Standardisation

The Reflections. The life and times of the ECA’s Man at the Top of ARSO’s Foundation.

ARSO was born Thirty One years (31) after the formation of ISO, at the historic 10th -17th January 1977 Founding Conference of ARSO at the Ghana International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana, with twenty one (21) African Governments as founder members, under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the OAU (now AU).  Form the ARSO Archives, there were a lot of communications to various African countries and Stakeholders. In all these, one man’s efforts stood out, Prof. Adedeji Adebayo in whose shoulder laid the coordination of the infant activities of the formation of ARSO, acting as the Secretary to that process. By then Prof. Adedeji was the Executive Secretary of Economic Community of Africa (UNECA).

In accordance with the provisions of Article XIX .1 of the Founding ARSO Constitution:   “The Constitution shall be deposited with the Secretary General after the Secretariat is formed but before this it shall be deposited with the Executive Secretary of ECA… Article XIX .4. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Secretary General after the Secretariat is formed but before this it shall be deposited with the Executive Secretary of ECA” and from the records available at the ARSO Central Secretariat, None other than Prof. Adedeji received these communications.

Mr. Beni Sani, Charge du Affairs of the Embassy of the Republic of Malawi in Addis Ababa while depositing the duly sealed and signed instrument of Ratification of ARSO by Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda, President of Republic Malawi on 28th August 1977, to the UNECA Secretary General, Remarked “the Republic of Malawi would like to associate his Government with your efforts, Mr. Executive Secretary, of establishing the African Regional Organisation for Standardisation. We feel that this Organisation is an important tool for positive economic development”. The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 14th July 1977, while depositing the duly sealed and signed instrument of Ratification of ARSO by the then Ethiopian President, H.E Lt. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam noted The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia presents its compliments to his Excellency the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa and has the honour to communicate herewith, pursuant to Article XIX .4 of the Constitution of the African Regional Organisation for Standardisation, the instrument of ratification of the aforementioned constitution”. Nigeria, on 2nd December 1977, while depositing the duly sealed and signed instrument of Ratification of ARSO by His Excellency, Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo,  noted: the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria presents its compliments to the Secretariat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and has the honour to forward herewith, for deposit, the original copy of the Instrument of Ratification of African Regional Organisation for Standardisation, duly sealed and signed by His Excellency, the Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria”. Senegal, on 7th July 1977, while depositing the duly sealed and signed instrument of Ratification of ARSO by His Excellency, Leopold Sedar Senghor, President of the Republic of Senegal, noted The Embassy of the Republic of Senegal in Addis Ababa presents its compliments to the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa and has the honour to acknowledge that the Prime Minister of the Republic of Senegal has confirmed this agreement authorizing the Government of Senegal to ratify the Constitution  that created ARSO on 11 January 1977 in Accra, Ghana”. Libya, on 4th January 1977, while depositing the duly sealed and signed instrument of Ratification of ARSO by Dr. Ali Treki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted:  The Embassy of the Socialist People’s Republic of Libyan Arab Jamahiriya presents its complements to the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa and has the honour to enclose herewith, for deposition with the Economic Commission for Africa, document of membership of  Socialist People’s Republic of Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in the African Regional Organisation for Standardisation”. Egypt, 9th August 1978, while depositing the duly sealed and signed instrument of Ratification of the formation of ARSO by His Excellency Mohamed Anwar El Saddat, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt noted The Embassy of the Republic of Egypt in Addis Ababa has, on behalf of its Government and on 17 May  1978 deposited with the Cabinet Office of the Secretary of the Commission of Africa, the instrument by which the Egyptian Government ratified the statute of the African Regional Organisation for Standardisation”.

Professor Adebayo Adedeji, born in Ijebu-Ode Ogun State in the year 1930. Has had a singularly distinguished academic, managerial, national and international, diplomatic and political career having served Nigeria in Africa and the international community for over four decades spanning 1950 to 1991. Professor Adebayo Adedeji is currently the Executive Director of the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies (ACDSS), a non-governmental, independent, continental, non-profit-making think-tank based in Nigeria, which he established in 1991 after retiring from the United Nations. ACDSS is dedicated to multi-disciplinary and strategic studies on and for Africa.
He is also the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Mechanism, an initiative on good governance of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Prior to these functions, Professor Adedeji had a distinguished academic, diplomatic and political career, serving his native country, Nigeria, and the international community for over four decades. Professor Adebayo Adedeji, first Nigerian Professor of Administration, Nigeria’s post war minister of economic planning and reconstruction, father of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In the early 1970s, as Nigeria’s Cabinet Minister for Economic Development and Reconstruction, Professor Adedeji was pivotal in the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). “This is the only region in Africa where citizens can visit and stay in a country other than their own for at least 90 days without a visa,” he affirmed, in a reference to ECOWAS’ flagship Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Rights to Residence and Establishment. His dynamism under the UNECA platform resulted in the creation of two more Regional Economic Communities (RECs) – the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in 1981 and 1983, respectively.

Prof. Adedeji AdebayoMoving forward, Prof Adedeji called on ECOWAS Member States to work toward the harmonization of policies, laws and regulations to consolidate regional integration. From 1984 to 1991, he was the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Africa’s Economic Crisis, in addition to his responsibilities as the Executive Secretary and Under-Secretary-General of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Since 1998, he has been a member of the Advisory Board of the United Nations African Futures Project, sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, ECA and the African Development Bank. In 2002, he was appointed Nigeria’s Special Envoy to Zimbabwe. When the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was foisted on hapless so-called developing and least developed nations – many of which are in Africa – by the World Bank and the IMF, Prof Adedeji and his fellow Pan-Africanist thinkers did not only raise an alarm but developed the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programme (AAF-SAP, 1989) followed by the African Charter for Popular Participation (ACPP, 1990), as legendary blue prints for the continent’s home-grown development and governance paradigms. Professor Adedeji received the International Gold Mercury Award in 1982 and the Arthur Houghton Star Crystal Award of the African-American Institute in 1991. In further recognition of his services to Africa and humanity, he was made an Honorary Citizen of the Republic of Namibia in March 1997 and received national honours from eight African countries.  At the age of 36, Professor Adedeji was offered tenure at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from London University in 1967, an M.P.A. from Harvard University in 1961 and a B.Sc. in Economics from University College in Leicester in 1958. In addition, Professor Adedeji has been awarded eight honorary degrees from various academic institutions and was recently mentioned as one of the 50 most influential thinkers on development. In recognition of his meritorious services at all levels, he was awarded national honours by seven African countries,  has been conferred with seven honorary doctorate degrees  and was bestowed with the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 2001. He will always be remembered for his unique initiatives for the sustainable development of Africa. Most notable are: The Lagos plan of Action (1980): The Final Act of Lagos (1980): The African Alternative framework to Structural Adjustment Programme (AAF –SAP, 1989) as the UN Secretary-General’s Special representative on Africa’s Economic crisis, a position he held between 1984 and 1986. A distinguished United Nations under-Secretary General: Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA): Author and Publisher of numerous books, distinguished academic, national and international diplomat, Professor Adebayo Adedeji is indeed Nigeria’s  Most Outstanding International  Economic icon.

Currently he is the Executive Director of the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies (ACDSS), a non-governmental, independent, continental, non-profit-making think-tank based in Nigeria, which he established in 1991 after retiring from the United Nations. ACDSS is dedicated to multi-disciplinary and strategic studies on and for Africa. He is also the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Mechanism, an initiative on good governance of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

 

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