Press Release – ITC, African Organisation for Standardisation to propel ‘Made in Africa’ label and boost trade under AfCFTA

(Nairobi/Geneva) –The Nairobi-based African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to contribute to continent-wide efforts to establish a ‘Made in Africa’ label and boost trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

ARSO – ITC Sign MoU in Nairobi, Kenya

The agreement renews a working commitment between the two organizations for five years until 2028, with an updated cooperation framework reflecting developments in Africa’s regional integration efforts, underpinned by the AfCFTA, and a growing global shift towards the use of sustainability standards to demonstrate commitment to good environmental, social, ethical and food safety practices.

The organizations will also promote regional standards in AfCFTA priority sectors and the Eco Mark Africa ecolabel. They will work together to align National Quality Policies with the Africa Quality Policy, and provide other AfCFTA support measures, including tailored training sessions for small businesses, including those led by women and young entrepreneurs.

At the signing ceremony, ARSO Secretary General Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana said: ‘This MOU will generate greater commitment between our organizations and boost intra-Africa trade, particularly through diversified production of value-added industrial products, across all priority sectors of Africa’s economy. Together, we will accelerate standardization activities to increase the competitiveness of African enterprises, strengthen regional value chains and pave the way for Made in Africa goods and services.’

In her remarks, ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton highlighted the role of stronger collaboration between the two organizations to strengthen regional integration and industrialization, building on improved quality infrastructure systems. Quality infrastructure services from ARSO enable AfCFTA State Parties to meet AfCFTA requirements.

‘This new agreement builds on the good work we’ve done together to support those who need it most – small businesses,’ said Coke-Hamilton. ‘By establishing a continental platform of quality associations, we will support the harmonization of standards and reduce barriers to trade under the AfCFTA. Our joint efforts will help drive the establishment of a Made in Africa label, to further promote intra-African trade, economic growth and development.’

The signing was also attended by H.E. Moses Kiarie Kuria, Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade and Industry, Kenya; Lt. Col. (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director of the Kenya Bureau of Standards; and other distinguished guests.

Following the MOU signing, ARSO and ITC will collaborate on the design of a branding and marketing strategy to support the wide adoption of the Made in Africa label, and to support Rwanda and Somalia in adopting the Africa Quality Policy for their national contexts.

Notes for the Editor

About ARSO – The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) is a continental standards body that was established in 1977 by the African Union (formerly OAU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) with the aim of promoting and harmonizing standards development and implementation across Africa. The organization’s main objective is to facilitate intra-African and international trade through the development and implementation of harmonized standards, and conformity assessment and the related activities.

About ITC – The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, visit

Follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr

About One Trade Africa – The ITC One Trade Africa programme works to enable, empower and enhance African small businesses, women and young entrepreneurs to access transformative business opportunities created by the AfCFTA. The programme embraces a three-pronged delivery model which supports African small businesses to compete, connect and change at the enterprise, business ecosystem and policy levels. ITC provides training, advice and coaching to build capacities, connect them to new and more lucrative markets, and create jobs.

Media contacts

Susanna Pak Senior Strategic Communications Officer International Trade Centre E: T : +41 22 730 0651 M : +41 79 667 4660

Philip Okungu Documentation and Information Manager African Organisation for Standardisation E : T : +2562224561 M : +256712370753  

The 32nd Session of the ARSO Monthly Webinar Series on 26th April 2023 from 1430 HRS

Intra-African Trade and the AfCFTA Agreement Implementation.

Webinar Theme – 26th April 2023

Topic: Working together to make Trade faster and Transparent while making the most of the African Continental Free Trade Area for the growth of intra-African Trade and in considering the emerging sectors that the AfCFTA is prioritising.

Register Here –

2nd Regional Quality Conference (21st to 24th March 2023)

The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) invites you to the 2nd Regional Quality Conference from 21st to 24th March 2023 in Kigali, Rwanda

Under the Theme – Managing quality in a dynamic work environment for Competitive Advantage

Key Note Speakers:

1. Dr Dr. Gregory H. Watson, an Honorary Member and Past President of both the American Society for Quality UTEP (ASQ) and the International Academy for Quality

2. Dr Hermogene Nsengimana, Secretary General – ARSO

Target Audience:

Chief Executives, Management Representatives, Auditors, Champions, Process owners and Managers of Management systems

Topics to be covered include:

1. Excellence models applicable in the African context

2. Managing for quality in a dynamically changing world

3. Standardization – building trust for regional trade facilitation

4. Driving excellence in quality through Leadership

5. Data analytics – the game changer in decision making

6. Innovation and process re-engineering for quality improvement – Standard

Register Here –




Time:  2:30 – 4:30 (1430 HRS – 1630 HRS) PM- EAST AFRICAN TIME

Register Here –

Rationale for the Webinar

Focusing on inclusive Transformation and Sustainable Development, prosperity for all.

Given the growing proliferation of devices, in the information age, it is vital that persons with disabilities (PwDs) can fully access Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the opportunities they provide in their own right, in an interconnected world, regardless of age, gender, ability, or location.

ARSO, therefore, jointly with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya, WELCOMES you to ARSO Monthly webinar series for January 2023, on 25th December 2023 on Digitization for sustainable & inclusive development – ICT accessibility standards and requirements focusing on the Disabled persons. The Webinar take into consideration the experience of COVID 19 and the rise in the development of SMART Cities, where  digitisation and the emerging ICTs are taking central place in sustainable development, permeating all sectors of life, including Health, Trade, Value-Chains, Manufacturing, Transportation, Governance, hence the need to consider the plight of all, including the Disabled, as per the UN Convention of 2006, and in the spirit of 2030 SDGs and the Africa Agenda 2063, that advocate for “inclusive prosperity with No one left Behind”.

The Webinar highlights the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (A/RES/61/106) adopted on 13 December 2006, which has established accessibility as one of its general principles, and Article 9 of which, requires the development of accessibility standards, and highlights the strategic role of Stakeholders and Government policy to ensure accessibility of services, as well as technical standards to ensure accessibility is taken into account in the design of technological products and services. The Webinar highlights the current standardisation initiatives including, the ETSI EN 301 549 and ETSI EN 301 549 (EU) and the Section 508 requirements (USA), and in Africa the initiative by Kenya, KEBS for the development of the KS ISO 2952 standard.

The Webinar seeks to create awareness of the growing population of the Disabled and the need for such standards, as UN estimates that 15% of the population worldwide, or some 1 billion individuals, live with one or more disabling conditions, with more than 46 per cent of older persons, those aged 60 years and over, having disabilities and more than 250 million older people experiencing moderate to severe disability. This, as the World Bank estimates that one billion people suffer from some sort of disability and predicting that by 2030, the number of senior citizens aged 60 and above who face age-related disabilities is expected to reach 1.4 billion, rising to 2.1 billion by 2050

The Webinar seeks to highlight the ongoing initiatives, the challenges and the need for regulatory policies that enhance the development and harmonisation of ICT Accessibility standards.

Sample Documents – ARSO AfDB Consultancy

These are Certification guidelines, Certification checklists and Outreach materials to be used as References under the ARSO Consultancy on Development of Documents.

Certification Guidelines




Certification Checklists

Outreach Materials





Consultancy Opportunity – (Extended Deadline 9th January 2023 from 3rd December 2022)

Terms of References for Development of Certification Documents, Modules/ Guidelines and Checklists (Please note the Categories Under Each Segment where you can only select a maximum of 8 Scopes)

Make an Application for the Consultancy Opportunity on this link before the deadline stated above

Apply for the Consultancy Here –

Read the Terms of Reference on the Development of Certification Documents, Modules/ Guidelines and Checklists before filling in this form above

Samples of the Documents Above please check under the Link Below

Click Here to Review Sample Documents Online

The Consultancy Opportunity Deadline Extended to 9th January 2023 from 18th November 2022

Terms of References for Different Consultancy Opportunities (Please note the Categories Under Each Segment where you can only select a maximum of 5 Scopes)

Make an Application for the Consultancy Opportunity on this link before the deadline stated above

Apply for the Consultancy Here –

1.      Background

The Economic Report on Africa 2013 recognizes that African commodities can form the basis for industrialization but notes that non-tariff barriers, sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers and technical barriers to trade, especially for agricultural commodities must be overcome by the concerted efforts of the continent’s institutions and Member States (UNECA & AUC, 2013). These barriers along the whole value-chain reduce returns to farmers while increasing prices paid by consumers. Removing these barriers to regional trade is essential if Africa is to attain its potential in food trade. But to achieve this, governments will need to overcome the political economy realities that have prevented African countries embracing open regional trade in food. They will need to provide a clear and predictable policy framework for regional trade so that institutions that facilitate exchange and mitigate the inherent risks associated with food production can flourish and support efficient and safer market outcomes and a more effective approach to food security in Africa (WB, 2012).

The African Union recognizes the crucial role agriculture in ensuring food and nutrition security in Africa and has passed many important instruments to support agricultural productivity and food trade in Africa. The Summit on Food Security (AUC, 2006) in particular called for harmonization of standards to facilitate free movement of food products in Africa and thus foster food and nutrition security in the continent.

In assessing the factors hindering agro-based trade, AUC & UNECA (2012) indicate that trade in agriculture and food products among African countries faces more challenges that the same products coming into Africa from outside Africa. Some of the barriers encountered can be categorized as standards-related regulations in the domain of the agricultural value chains and trade-facilitation aspects such as labelling and packaging. In this respect, the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) has harmonized priority standards for agriculture and food products which should facilitate the AU agenda. However, the technical nature of many standards has been identified as a major contributing factor to the low uptake and utilization of standards among African enterprises and communities. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that many African countries do not offer specialized expert interpretation of standards for implementers. In the food and agriculture sector, the stakeholders mostly constitute smallholder farmers with limited exposure to technical language. The failure by governments in Africa compounds the problem further.

2. Once you read and understand the Terms of Reference below; register and fill details including the technical and financial proposal (you shall need a google account to save and update the form shared below for your application)


Compilation (monographs) of African indigenous cereals, pulses and oilseeds and their value addition for commercialization


Compilation (monographs) of African indigenous herbs, spices and condiments and their value addition processes


Compilation of (monographs) African indigenous edible fruits, nuts and vegetables including their value addition and commercialization


Edible insects in Africa — Identification, good agricultural and collection practices and value addition for human consumption and commercialization


Insects for animal feed— Identification, good agricultural and wild collection practices and value addition processes


Terms of Reference for Development of Illustrated Sensitization and Promotional Materials on Agricultural Products and Processes: Good Practice Outreach Materials, GPOM


Terms of Reference for Development of Training Modules


Terms of Reference for Development of Value Addition Modules


Samples of the Documents Above please check under the Link Below

Click Here to Review Sample Documents Online

ASTM/ARSO Webinar Workshop on Petroleum

Tuesday, October 25th, 20227:30 AM – 9:00 AM EST (14:30 – 16:00 EAT)

Concept Note

ASTM International: “ASTM International’s Standards Alliance Project on the Harmonization of Petroleum Standards in West Africa and, ARSO’s Development of African Standards (ARS) for fuels: The importance of testing standards in line with available testing equipment”

  1. Introduction:

ASTM International Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants was formed in 1904. With a current membership of approximately 2500 industry professionals and experts and, jurisdiction over 814 standards, published in six volumes of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards, D02 meets twice a year, June and December. During the Committee Week (CW), approximately 1000 members attend 5 days of technical meetings focusing on the latest standards developments in the more than one hundred subcommittees that it serves. This year, the December 4-8 D02 CW to be held in Orlando, Florida, will host eight representatives (two from each of the four ECOWAS countries) that are participating in the ASTM/API (The American Petroleum Institute) Standards Alliance program, aimed at harmonizing petroleum standards in West Africa. To date, two ASTM workshops have been held in Nigeria and Ghana:  #petroleum #standardsdevelopment #Ghana

  • Background:

In November 2019, The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), through its public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – the Standards Alliance – organized a five-day training on international petroleum standards and management systems in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. This event was organized in coordination with the Ivoirian Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energy and the national standards bodies of Côte d’Ivoire (CODINORM), Ghana (GSA), Nigeria (SON), and Senegal (ASN). The training provided an opportunity for 25 participants to discuss international best practices for petroleum, environmental and economic challenges and, the need for regional harmonization of petroleum standards to maximize economies of scale and ensure high quality petroleum products across the ECOWAS.

ARSO/TC 37, Petroleum and petrochemical products – Technical Committee dealing with Standards Development under the Category.

  • Proposed Objectives/Results:

This workshop, the fourth in a series of five ARSO/ASTM’s webinars scheduled for 2022, is in response to the selection of the topic (one of the five priority topics) through a survey conducted with the members of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO). The webinar seeks to share the success of the current ASTM/API harmonization of petroleum standards in West Africa while also looking at ARSO’s Development of African Standards (ARS) for fuels and the importance of testing standards in line with available testing equipment in the continent. Public and private sector Industry experts, regulators, ARSO members and consumers are expected to attend.

  • Panellists & Bios:

This webinar will feature two speakers – one from ASTM and another from an African country to be proposed by ARSO. The ASTM Speaker will highlight the success of the ASTM Standards Alliance Program in West Africa to date and identify existing gaps in test methods in member countries while ARSO Speaker will discuss the Development of African Standards (ARS) for fuels and the importance of testing standards in line with available testing equipment.  


Speaker 1: Mr. August Wiredu, ASTM Petroleum Standards Consultant, U.S./Ghana.

Speaker 2: Mr. Stuart Raye, Motor industry fuel and emission technical expert, South Africa.

Celebrating World Food Day with Standards as tools for increased productivity and agricultural trade

The World Food Day is observed annually on 16 October to highlight the millions of people worldwide who cannot afford a healthy diet and the need for regular access to nutritious food. The theme for 2022 is Leave NO ONE behind.

World Food Day 2022 is being marked with a clear focus of the fact that Agriculture and food are the leading sectors for synergies across development and climate action, delivering simultaneously on the Sustainable Development Goals, national growth and food security goals, and climate adaptation and mitigation.

For Africa, Agriculture, providing 60 percent of all employment, constitutes the backbone of most African economies; in most countries, it is still the largest contributor (30-40%) to GDP; the biggest source of foreign exchange and the main generator of savings and tax revenues. The sector still the dominant provider of industrial raw materials with about two-thirds of manufacturing value-added in most African countries being based on agricultural raw materials. Given its backward and forward linkages for industries, agriculture thus remains crucial for economic growth in most African countries, however, Technical Barriers to Trade due to variant standards and Conformity Assessment procedures due to different Africans regional Agricultural Policies limit Agricultural trade and Productivity.

ARSO is promoting harmonization of African standards and Conformity assessment systems focused on facilitating the production and trade of Agricultural and food products, in the context of the AfCFTA Agreement, through eight main sectors namely fish and fisheries products, milk and milk products, horticulture, Coffee, cocoa and tea, live animals, animal feeding and agriculture and biotechnology with the support of experts from African Countries member of ARSO. ARSO is also facilitating. ARSO also continues to engage stakeholders in the development of training modules, Certification guidelines, Value Addition Modules, Conformity Assessment Checklists and Audit Instructions, outreach Materials and as well as in awareness creation for effective food regulatory systems as well as for competitiveness of the Made in Africa Agricultural Products and the MMMEs, while taking advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution under the ARSO African 4th Industrial Revolution Standardisation Strategy which was launched on 9th December 2021. The initiatives are in tandem with the FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-31, for the Four Betters: better production, nutrition, environment, life for all, leaving no one behind.

Press Release – Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Round Table

Under the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program, ITFC, Afreximbank, BADEA and ARSO organized a High-level Roundtable on the Harmonisation of Standards for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices in Africa during IATF 2021 in Durban

The week-long event brought together government officials, policy-makers, industry leaders and institutional heads from African countries and other regions to discuss the future of of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), trade, health and post-covid economic recovery.

Round Table held on a Hybrid Model

Durban, 18th November 2021 – The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the African Organization for Harmonization (ARSO) joined other partners and strategic stakeholders for a strategic roundtable on the Harmonisation of Standards for Pharmaceutical products and Medical Devices in Africa.

The event which took place on the 17th November, 2021 on the sidelines of the 2021 edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), highlighted the progress made on the Harmonisation process and the impact its full implementation will have on the continental economy in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Speakers at the event included Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC; Dr. Sidi Ould Tah, BADEA Director General; Mr. Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President (EVP)- Business Development and Corporate Banking, Afreximbank; H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner, African Union Commission; H.E. Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General AfCFTA; Dr. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa; Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, ARSO Secretary General and Dr. Paulyne Wairimu,PPB, Kenya/AMDF.

Issues discussed ranged from country and regional partnerships on industrialization, the potential of the pharmaceutical industry in Africa, to health and the continent’s economic recovery beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussions exposed the impact of the local manufacturing of vaccines and drugs on Africa’s industrialization and on its recovery from the pandemic. Africa remaining one of the continents with genuine opportunities for growth in the pharmaceutical sector, the speakers called for more support and investsment to be channeled towards the industry; therefore encouraging governments and the business community to make use of the AfCFTA Agreement to facilitate trade and investment in the sector. Africa’s pharmaceutical industry is projected to be worth US$ 70 billion by 2030 thanks to its growing urban population, changing economic landscapes, climate-change-related challenges, increased healthcare spending and healthcare provision capacities.

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO

Highlighting ITFC’s commitment to the harmonisation project and to health in Africa, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO, said: “ITFC has always been committed to socio-economic projects with high impact in Africa and it is to primarily structure that commitment that we launched the Arab Africa Trade Bridge (AATB) Program under which the Harmonisation project is running. There is a lot of potential in the continent’s pharmaceutical and health sectors and we are poised to support strategic projects such as this that will go a long way to boost industrialization on the continent and play a crucial role in providing people with the needed health services and medicines they need. We are elated to be on this journey with ARSO, Afreximbank and BADEA and we are looking forward to seeing the long term impact of the project.”

Mr. Amr Kamel, EVP Afreximbank

Mr. Amr Kamel, EVP Afreximbank also stated: “Afreximbank has taken upon itself to support various aspects of quality infrastructure in Africa. In partnerhip with ARSO and the African Union, the Bank developed the African Quality Policy to harmonise automotive standards. Afreximbank is also supporting the development of African Quality Assurance Centres (AQACs) across the continent. AQAC is an initiative embarked by the Bank to address the key trade barrier of non-compliance with international trade standards and technical requirements for export markets. The initiative supports the emergence of internationally accredited canters for testing, inspection and certification services of “Made in Africa” products across the continent”.

Dr. Sidi Ould Tah Director General of BADEA speaking on behalf of the organization said: “To ease investment in and trade of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, the harmonization of standards and quality is a must and needs to happen as soon as possible to reap the potential benefits of the AfCFTA as substantiated across economic analysis. And BADEA reiterates its commitment to support this initiative along other partners.”

Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, Secretary General of ARSO also stated: “The Standardisation principles of Transparency, Openness and Inclusivity of the WTO TBT Agreement, therefore, provides for ARSO, through the African Standards Harmonisation Model (ASHAM), to call upon all ARSO Member States to nominate Experts to develop and harmonise standards and Conformity Assessment systems in priority sectors and products of interests for Africa, in a more transparent and inclusive way. Currently, under its 15 priority Sectors, including Agriculture, Pharmaceutical, and Automotive, with 84 Technical Committees, altogether, ARSO has more than 800 Technical Experts nominated by National Standards Bureaus to participate in the standardardisation process.Implementation of Harmonised Standards is very key as those standard are referenced in Technical Regulations, on the other hand there is a need of mutual recognition with acceptability of the test results for conformity to establish the international standardisation principle of  “one standard, one test, one certificate, accepted everywhere” for the consumers and producers and for facilitation of Trade.”

The roundtable concluded with the reiteration of stakeholders’ commitment to complete the harmonization process and invest more in health-centered projects on the continent within the AfCFTA framework.


About the International Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC)

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. It was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among OIC member countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world. Commencing operations in January 2008, ITFC has provided US$58 billion of financing to OIC member countries, making it the leading provider of trade solutions for these member countries’ needs. With a mission to become a catalyst for trade development for OIC member countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in member countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools, which would enable them to successfully compete in the global market.

Contact Us

Twitter: @ITFCCORP

Facebook: @ITFCCORP

LinkedIn: International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC)

Tel: +966 12 646 8337

Fax: +966 12 637 1064


About African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution with the mandate of financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank was established in October 1993 and owned by African governments, the African Development Bank, and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors. The Bank was established under two constitutive documents, an Agreement signed by member states, which confers on the Bank the status of an international organization, and a Charter signed by all Shareholders, which governs its corporate structure and operations.  

Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that are supporting the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby sustaining economic expansion in Africa. At the end of 2019, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at USD$15.5 billion and its shareholders funds amounted to US$2.8 billion. Voted “African Bank of the Year” in 2019, the Bank disbursed more than US$31billion between 2016 and 2019. Afreximbank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1) and Fitch (BBB-). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt. For more information, visit: 

About Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA)

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa- BADEA- is a multilateral development bank owned by eighteen (18) Arab countries, members of the League of Arab States (LAS). The Bank has been operational for the last 45 years with footprints in about 44 countries.

BADEA aims at promoting economic development in Africa and fostering cooperation between the beneficiary countries and the Arab World through investment and trade.  To this end, BADEA’s operations revolve around four strategic pillars:

i) Infrastructure investment in energy.

ii) Private sector and trade financing.

iii) Agriculture value-chains.

iv) Entrepreneurship and SMEs. In addition, capacity development weighs in as a cross cutting pillar.

For more information, visit:

Follow us on Social Media: @BADEAbank   #BADEA2030

About the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO)

The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) is Africas intergovernmental standards body formed by OAU (currently AU) and UNECA in 1977 in Accra Ghana. 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 Africas 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.

For More Information –

ARSO SIGNS MoU with AfCFTA Secretariat – 17th November 2021

ARSO signs an MoU with the AfCFTA Secretariat on the implementation of AfCFTA Agreement, with respect to the elimination of Technical Barriers to Trade that has consistently hindered the intra-African Trade, as provided for under the TBT Annex 6, which also recognizes the role of ARSO, in the same, under article 6. The AfCFTA has the potential to increase intra-African trade by 52.3% by eliminating import duties, and to double this trade if non-tariff barriers, especially the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTS) are also reduced (UNECA 2018). The Heterogeneity of the African Standards, within the RECs and Countries, make intra-African Trade costly, contentious and low (16%, TRALAC 2019).

The MoU signing ceremony by H.E. Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General AfCFTA and Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, ARSO Secretary General during the IATF 2021

The WTO encourages Harmonization, use of equivalence and mutual recognition in the bilateral free trade agreements, such as the AfCFTA. The anticipated standards to be harmonised by ARSO being comparable to the 4,547 HS6, Tarif lines for the AfCFTA. The AfCFTA TBT Annex 6 provisions on standards, Conformity Assessments and accreditation indicate the need for harmonization and mutual recognition between the State parties, with the role of ARSO defined.

H.E. Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General AfCFTA
ARSO – AfCFTA MoU Hand Over
Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, ARSO Secretary General

As a policy instrument, the AfCFTA Agreement, under the TBT Annex 6 and SPS Annex 7, addresses the TBTs and SPS issues, and binds all State parties to commit to their progressive elimination and calls for cooperation in their development, harmonisation and implementation of standards, conformity Assessment and the related themes.The signing has taken place at the Roundtable discussion on the role of Quality Infrastructure in the promotion of the Pharmaceutical Sector under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), taking place on the sideline of the 6 days event the Intra African Trade Fair 2021, in Durban, South Africa, from 15th – 21st November 2021. The AfCFTA Agreement is coordinating the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement with all the Stakeholders and partners, like ARSO.

Harmonisation of Standards for Pharmaceutical & Medical Devices in Africa, Round Table Discussion

Press Release

The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and its partners set to organize a high-level roundtable on the Harmonisation of Standards for Pharmaceutical products and Medical Devices in Africa on the 17th November 2021.

The hybrid roundtable is aimed at discussing and providing update on the Harmonization project and will come off on the sidelines of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) taking place in Durban, South Africa from the 15th to the 21st of November 2021.

Nairobi – 11th November 2021: The African Organization for Standardisation (ARSO) in partnership with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), and Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) announced the organization of a roundtable on the sidelines of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) on 17th November 2021 at 10:35 – 1pm (South African Time).

The hybrid event will serve as a platform to provide updates on their common project called “Harmonization of Standards for Pharmaceutical products and Medical Devices in Africa”. The initiative which was launched under the umbrella of the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges Program (AATB) in 2020, aims at harmonizing African standards for pharmaceuticals and medical devices thereby enhancing intra-African trade and investment, reducing substandard counterfeit products, and building resilient regional health systems.

The roundtable shall be graced by Prof. Benedict Oramah, President Afreximbank; Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC; Dr. Sidi Ould Tah, BADEA Director General;  Wamkele Mene, Secretary General AfCFTA; Dr. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa; H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner, African Union Commission; Dr. John N. Nkengasong, Africa Centre for Disease Control; Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, ARSO Secretary General and Dr Paulyne Wairimu,PPB, Kenya/AMDF and shall concurrently take place physically at the IATF 2021 Venue in Kwa Zulu Natal and virtually on Zoom.

To access the event, kindly log in here: (Translation will be provided in English and French)

Morocco formalises its membership in ARSO

The AfCFTA Agreement, for which, the Kingdom of Morocco is a signatory and ratifying Sate Party, calls on all State parties, under the TBT Annex 6, article 6, f, to promote membership, liaison and participation in the work of ISO, IEC, ARSO, AFSEC and similar international and regional standardisation organisations. 

The AfCFTA Agreement under TBT Annex 6, Article 4, sets to (a) facilitate intra-African trade through cooperation in the areas of standards, technical regulation, conformity assessment, accreditation and metrology; and urges State parties, under Article 5, to cooperate in the development and implementation of standards, technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures, accreditation, metrology, capacity building and enforcement activities in order to facilitate trade within the AfCFTA, and as well, under Article 6 (b), to promote the adoption of standards developed by the ARSO and the AFSEC. It is acknowledged that seamless flow of goods and services under the AfCFTA requires harmonised standards and Conformity Assessment. Already, in Africa, the volume and complexity of technical regulations and the variation in certification, testing, inspection practices and standards used by different African countries and RECs continue to pose an impediment to intra-African trade and cooperation among African countries in the harmonisation the African standards, by Experts from all African countries, remains a key requirement, within the AfCFTA Agreement.

Having signed the ARSO Membership Documents, including the ARSO Membership Instrument of Accession and the ARSO Constitution ratification form in February 2021, the Kingdom of Morocco has finally completed all requirement as ARSO member on 17th March 2021. This comes at a crucial moment when the African countries have started real trade with each other, on 1st January 2021, under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.

The Kingdom of Morocco will formally be admitted to the ARSO Membership during the 26th ARSO General Assembly scheduled for 16th June 2021. The Total Membership of ARSO currently standards at 39 African Countries, and all African Union are expected to attain ARSO membership as provided by the AfCFTA agreement TBT annex 6

ARSO Signs MoU with Fair Trade Africa

3rd February 2021, Nairobi, Kenya, Fair Trade Africa Office

ARSO and the Commerce Equitable Afrique, trading as Fair-Trade Africa (FTA), and Headquartered in Nairobi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 3rd February 2021, with the main objective to establish a framework within which to jointly explore and coordinate such undertakings to build strong and resilient producer Organisations and work cooperatively towards increasing sustainable and ethical production and consumption across Africa. The focus is to facilitate intra-African Trade and global trade through providing and facilitating the implementation of harmonised standards and improving livelihoods of small holder farmers and workers in the plantations. The two Parties have undertaken to promote and advance the use of standards and support sustainable agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, aquaculture, food security and socially inclusive busines and community development.

Fairtrade Africa was established in 2005 and is the independent non-profit umbrella organisation representing all Fairtrade certified producers in Africa. Fairtrade Africa is owned by its members, who are African producer organisations certified against international Fairtrade standards producing traditional export commodities such as coffee, cocoa, tea, cotton, bananas, mango and non-traditional commodities including shea butter and rooibos tea. Currently, the organisation supports over 500 producer organisations and represents over one million small holder farmers and workers across 32 countries in Africa, ensuring they get better prices, decent working conditions and fairer terms of trade.’

The two Organisations both run Eco labelling programmes and having benchmarked the Eco labels in 2018.

ARSO through the ARSO Conformity Assessment Procedure (ACAP) has developed rules and procedures for its Certification operations in nine schemes that include sustainability and eco-labelling that awards the Eco mark label to products and services complying with requirements to the African sustainability standards.

Launched on 8th March 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya Eco Mark Africa is a programme in ARSO that promotes the EMA Ecolabel in Africa for sustainably produced goods and services in the Agriculture, Aquiculture, Fisheries, forestry and tourism sectors. It also builds capacity of Auditors, certification bodies, laboratories and producers of goods and services in the above sectors. The programme integrates, the concepts of environmental, social and economic sustainability and is a useful tool for promoting sustainable production and consumption of goods and services as well as addressing various sustainable development goals, including the mitigating the climate action in Africa, while ensuring the production of eco-friendly African products for better regional and global market access. The certification is based on the ARSO Sustainability and Ecolabelling standards: ARS/AES 01 – 2014: Agriculture, for the sustainable production, processing and trading of agricultural products; ARS/AES 02- 2014: Fisheries – for the sustainable harvesting of fish as well as addressing the Ecosystem issues; ARS/AES 03 – 2014: Forestry- for sustainable management of forests; ARS/AES 04 – 2014: Tourism- for sustainable management of tourism, while promoting Eco Tourism and environmental conservation. This in addition to the ARS/AES 1:2014 – Aquaculture and ARS/AES 1:2014 Tilapia.

8th Continental Essay Competition – 2021

8th Continental Essay Competition for the year 2021

Theme: “The Role of Standardisation in promoting Arts, Culture and Heritage – The Creative Economy in Africa

University and College Students under the age of 35 years eligible to participate

The Competition aims to have 3 categories of winners: the National, Regional and Continental. In this regard, ARSO is requesting all the National Standards Bodies (NSBs) in Africa to organise the competition at the National level and send out the attached documents (8th Continental Essay Concept Paper and Registration Form) to the various Universities /Colleges for the competition. The NSB is expected to conduct the competition at the National level. This entails sending out the relevant documents to Colleges/ Universities, receiving the essays from the participants, doing the assessment and awarding or giving recognition to the winners as appropriate to the NSB.

The organizers are inviting students in institutions of higher learning in Africa (Colleges/ Universities approved by their local commission of higher education) to submit their essays on the theme: “The Role of Standardisation in promoting Arts, Culture and Heritage – The Creative Economy in Africa.” to their respective National Standards Bodies (NSBs) email addresses. (Confirm with your respective NSBs on the submission dates)

Download the Documents Below…