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  

AFREXIMBANK, ITFC, BADEA and ARSO Lead Harmonisation of African Standards to Facilitate Intra-African Trade in Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices

Project Sees Signing of MoU between ARSO and the AfCFTA

Nairobi, Kenya – (7th November 2022) – African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), and the African Organization for Harmonization (ARSO), have partnered on a project to advance the harmonisation of standards governing Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices. The project, deployed under the umbrella of the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) programme, is designed to promote the quality, safety, and trade of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal products and Medical devices and Equipment imported or produced on the continent. This forms part of a broader regulatory framework harmonization programs across the continent, linked to the implementation of the AfCFTA and preparedness for such pandemics like COVID-19 in future.

Indeed, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD have identified the COVID-19 pandemic as the largest threat to the global economy since the financial emergency of 2008–2009, as COVID-19 had severely demobilized the global economy. For Africa, on a positive note, due to the endemic reliance on imports, and the breakdowns in supply chains associated with lockdown measures, COVID‑19 has strengthened the case for developing intra-African regional value chains and unlocking the continent’s business potential, with a positive shift from global to a more regional and local supply chain in the key sectors including Agro-processing and the pharmaceuticals to foster manufacturing, trade, industrialization, and sustainable development,

With about 95.9% of Africa’s imports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products, originating from outside the continent (Karisha Banga, et al. 2020) COVID-19 pandemic, has not only magnified Africa’s reliance on imported pharmaceuticals (both final and intermediate products) but has also amplified the urgency for partnerships to build competitive, resilient and robust value chains and manufacturing opportunities in this sector, while addressing the regulatory and policy challenges to facilitate a regional approach to developing medical value chains based on comparative advantages and economies of scale, while focusing on the transformation of Africa into a location of competitive industrial production and the prioritisation of sectors with high potentials for industrial growth, and meaningfully making Africa leapfrog in its industrial development.

The ongoing partnership between AFREXIMBANK, ITFC, BADEA, and ARSO, has the objective to Harmonise standards for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices in Africa,  linking to the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement in coordination with the AfCFTA Secretariat, given that the anticipated standards to be harmonised by ARSO being comparable to the 4,547 HS6, Tarif lines for the AfCFTA, as the WTO encourages Harmonization, use of equivalence and mutual recognition in the Free Trade Agreements, such as the AfCFTA.

This project, designed to be implemented in a phased manner over three years, till 2023, begun with the harmonisation of standards for Medical devices and equipment, Pharmaceutical and medicinal products, and African traditional medicine under the auspices of ARSO Technical Committees, ARSO/TC 78, ARSO/TC 80 and  ARSO/TC 82, respectively, whereby the 1st phase focused mainly on the analysis of the existing international, regional, and national standards for their suitability in meeting the unique challenges faced by African healthcare industries. The 2nd phase is focusing on the long-term development and harmonization of African Unique Standards, which are non-existing standards developed from the level zero draft. The project is also addressing the issue of technical regulations under the ARSO Conformity Assessment Committee (ARSO CACO) under its Working Group five, ARSO CACO WG5/ Technical regulation Subcommittee.

The Project which was launched in September 2020, aims to enhance intra-African trade and investment, reduce substandard counterfeit products, and build resilient regional health systems, in the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, with the following milestones:

  • The harmonisation of One-hundred and Thirteen (113) standards and Thirteen (13) Technical Regulation Guidelines that have already been published, and distributed both to the Partners, ARSO Members, and relevant Stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical industry;
  • The ongoing consideration of an additional Two Hundred and Sixty (260 standards and Seven (7) Technical Regulation Guidelines, under the process of harmonisation, and with the analysis of work in progress reflected below:
  1. Medical devices and Equipment – ARSO TC 78
  • ARSO TC 80/ Pharmaceutical and Medicinal products
  • Fifty-One Final Draft African Standards (51 FDARS) – international standards to be presented to the ARSO Council for adoption approval by the end of 2022
  • Forty-Eight (48) Unique standards under discussion at different stages in the Committee
  • ARSO TC 82/ African Traditional medicines
  • Twenty (20) – Unique standards under National Consultation by Member States
  • Forty-Two (42) – Unique standards under discussion at different stages in the Committee
  • ARSO CACO WG5/ Technical regulation Subcommittee
  • Seven (7) guidelines are currently at the inquiry stage by Member States

From the foregoing, taking into consideration that Standards underpin Industrialisation, Trade, and Market Access, and that the Pharmaceuticals Industry is one of the levers for building the Africa We Want, key stakeholders commented as follows:

H.E. Wamkele Mene, the AfCFTA Secretary General explained: “The AfCFTA Value Proposition for the Health Sector. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement has established one of the largest free markets across 55 African countries. It is meant to increase intra-Africa trade among State Parties. This however must be supported by an enhanced industrialization effort to meet the supply side constraints.

The pharmaceutical industry constituting $17billion of imported pharmaceutical preparations and products is one of the sectors which will release major gains from the market access provided by the Agreement for increased trade among African countries if well supported. We know and understand

that Africa continues to import a majority of its medicines and vaccines from outside the continent. The COVID19 pandemic however presents a potential for the continent to tap into the production of medicines and vaccines to contribute to addressing health gaps in the continent and increasing GDP growth.

The Secretariat has developed the Private Sector Engagement Strategy 2022-2032, and in this strategy, we have identified pharmaceuticals as part of four initial priority value chains, the others being agro-processing, automotive, and transportation and logistics. The strategy indicates that one of the main barriers to increasing production and intra-African trade is the lack of harmonized standards and regulations across the continent. This is in addition to a lack of markets, a lack of competitiveness compared to other regions, and insufficient transport and logistics. Addressing the bottlenecks around the pharmaceutical sector requires an urgent focus on strengthening Pan African regulatory bodies to harmonize regulations of pharmaceutical standards, increasing procurement of locally produced drugs, upgrading the capacity and scale of local manufacturers, and increasing access to affordable intra-continental freight capacity.

Focus on Standards Development in the Implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement

In our quest to implement the AfCFTA Agreement, related to Technical Barriers to Trade, it is known that standards and regulations are among the most important types of trade‐related measures used around the world to regulate trade. Due diligence must therefore be given to how they are crafted to help governments achieve important policy objectives, including safeguarding human health and safety, as well as protecting the environment and without unnecessarily disrupting trade. State Parties have therefore prioritized harmonization of standards in priority sectors as a high-impact deliverable for the implementation of the AfCFTA. To this end, the AfCFTA Secretariat has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ARSO to provide a framework of cooperation to strengthen intra-Africa trade by prioritizing the development and harmonization of standards for enhanced diversification, industrialization, and transformation of Africa’s economy and to boost the continent’s capacity to meet its internal demand from its own resources.

Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with ARSO

The MoU and its implementation plan, therefore, provide a basis and resources for the execution of the deliverable on harmonization of standards in priority areas as envisaged by the AfCFTA Policy Organs. It is our interest to therefore partner with relevant technical institutions such as ARSO to deliver on our mandates while leveraging on the technical expertise on the development and harmonization of standards already existing in the continent. The activities specified in the ARSO and AfCFTA Secretariat MoU Implementation Plan (2022-2025) will directly contribute to the overall objectives of the AfCFTA, specifically on speeding up Africa’s economic integration, increasing intra-Africa trade, and addressing the key challenges related to COVID-19 pandemic and other health challenges facing the continent.”

H.E. Ambassador Albert M. Muchanga, the Commissioner for Economic development, Trade, Tourism Industry and Minerals of the African Union Noted, “Africa is home to some of the most diverse plant and floral varieties known to man and these potentially form the base of many pharmaceutical products. The pharmaceutical and medical devices industries are, however, not that well developed in Africa. Aside from its potential to become a strong driver for economic growth, events of the last few years have shown that the continent needs to establish its own self-reliance when it comes to medical requirements across the board. Africa now has enough pharmaceutical and medical device standards developed or under development to enable this industry to expand in those countries where it has been established and to be seeded in many other African countries. In this sector, perhaps more than in any other, the door to potential counterfeit and sub-standard products must remain firmly shut due to the negative consequences of such on health and safety. We at the AUC, therefore, encourage and support the ongoing development and harmonisation of standards for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices in Africa being carried out under the Umbrella of the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program.”

Ms. Kanayo Awani, the Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank, while reflecting on the initiative’s progress, said “As Africa undertakes the ambitious implementation of the AfCFTA, it is vital that our regulatory and policy framework reflects an interconnected region in which growth can be cross-border and truly intra-African. The recent pandemic proved the vulnerability of Africa’s dependence on foreign medical imports, and this partnership is advancing a new model of manufacturing and production which secures the continent and its people against future crises and challenges.”

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO, commenting on the initiative, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the urgent need to develop intra-African regional value chains and unlock the continent’s business potential to foster more trade as a counterbalance to the region’s high exposure to global supply chain challenges.  As the pandemic’s impact on the global economy begins to fade, now is the time to strengthen our resiliency as we look to achieve more sustainable economic development.  The AATB Harmonization Project, which aims to enhance the continent’s health resilience, will continue to build competitive and robust value chains and manufacturing opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector.  A thriving homegrown pharmaceutical sector will increase trade and investment, which will deliver more jobs, greater economic opportunities, and enhance Africa’s overall economic prospects.”      

His Excellency Dr Sidi Ould Tah BADEA Director General, “As the pandemic stretched the abilities of the medical and health supply chain and demonstrated the health dangers from extreme import dependence. The same pandemic created an opportunity to reflect and reassess how we can stimulate and standardize the medical manufacturing and medical trade in Africa. This joint project is critical commitment from BADEA and our partners to the project to provide the tools, coordination platform and the necessary funds to build capacity and create resilience to future health shocks through manufacturing and harmonizing the medical industry necessary medical supplies in the continent”

Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, ARSO’s Secretary Generalwhile referring to the partnership said that, “All the work items were identified and proposed by the ARSO Member States, as a priority to respond to the Covid19 pandemic and partnering to bring a solution for Africa with the vision of prioritising the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement, a step that was sealed during the Intra-Africa Trade Fair 2021 that took place in Durban, South Africa in November, where ARSO and the AfCFTA Secretariat signed an MoU aimed at the implementation of the TBT Annex 6 and SPS Annex 7, as the Agreement binds all state parties to work collaboratively to reduce the challenges of the TBTs in Africa.”


About African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union member States, is a free trade area founded in 2018 and is one of the fourteen (14) flagship projects of the African Union Agenda 2063, the Africa we Want. The Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 for the 24 countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification by this date, with the operational phase, launched during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on the AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019. Considered the largest free-trade area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization the start of real trading under the AfCFTA Agreement began on 1 January 2021, however, no trade has as yet taken place under the AfCFTA regime.

Implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement is on course and as of April 2022, 43 of the 54 signatories (80%) have deposited their instruments of AfCFTA ratification. The AfCFTA Secretariat, which implements the Agreement, is hosted in Accra, Ghana by the Government of the Republic of Ghana.

About African Union Commission (AUC)

The African Union Commission (AUC) is the African Union (AU)’s secretariat and undertakes the day-to-day activities of the Union. It is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Commission is composed of a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, and six commissioners, plus staff. The Assembly elects the AUC Chairperson and AUC Deputy Chairperson. The Executive Council elects the six AUC Commissioners, who are then appointed by the Assembly. Commission members’ terms are for four years, renewable once. Elections and terms are governed by the AU Assembly Rules of Procedure, the Executive Council Rules of Procedure , and the Commission Statutes.  Its functions include:

  • Representing the AU and defending its interests under the guidance of and as mandated by the Assembly and the Executive Council
  • Initiating proposals to be submitted to the AU’s organs as well as implementing decisions taken by them and Acting as the custodian of the AU Constitutive Act and all other OAU/AU legal instruments
  • Liaising closely with the AU organs to guide, support, and monitor the AU’s performance to ensure conformity and harmony with agreed policies, strategies, programmes, and projects
  • Providing operational support for all AU organs and assisting Member States in implementing the AU’s programmes
  • Drafting AU common positions and coordinating Member States’ actions in international negotiations
  • Managing the AU budget and resources and elaborating, promoting, coordinating, and harmonising the AU’s programmes and policies with those of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
  • Ensuring gender mainstreaming in all AU programmes and activities and Taking action, as delegated by the Assembly and Executive Council.

For more information visit:

About African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)

Afreximbank is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Afreximbank is working with the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2021, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at US$24.8 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$4 billion. Afreximbank disbursed more than US$51 billion between 2016 and 2021. The Bank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-), and Fitch (BBB-). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

For more information, visit: 

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 contributes to the overarching goal of improving the socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world. Commencing operations in January 2008, ITFC has provided more than US$61 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 the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA):

Founded in 1974 by eighteen Arab countries, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) is BADEA is rated Aa2/Positive outlook by Moody’s, and AA/Stable outlook by S&P Global Ratings. BADEA is a multilateral development financial institution recognized as a reputable partner in Arab–Africa cooperation. BADEA offers a wide array of products and services for financing development in Africa. BADEA products include loans to public and private entities that finance trade, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, and social sectors, small and medium enterprises with special focus on women and youth, as well as grants for capacity development. BADEA 2030 strategy positions the bank as a flexible, effective, and reliable development partner in Africa’s transformation and progress towards 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for the African Union’s Agenda 2063

For More Information visit:

About the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO)

The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) is Africa’s intergovernmental standards body formed by OAU (currently AU) and UNECA in 1977 in Accra Ghana. The ARSO mandate is to facilitate intra-African and World Trade through Harmonisation of Standards and Conformity Assessment Procedures and facilitation of opportunities for Mutual recognition arrangements for the harmonised standards and conformity assessment which directly aims at reducing Technical Barriers to Trade in Africa.

On the African level, harmonisation of African standards has been championed through ARSO and more than 1485 standards have been harmonised[1]. The harmonised work is done within 15 sectors comprised of 84 Technical committees (TC) covering various areas of major African interest.

These 15 Sectors are: Basic and General Standards; Agriculture and Food Products; Building and Civil Engineering; Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy; Chemical & Chemical Engineering; Electro-technology; Textiles and Leather; Transport and Communication; Environmental Management Systems; Energy and Natural Resources; Management and Quality; Services; African Traditional and Complimentary Medicine; Healthcare Technology; Household Goods and Services.

For More Information visit: –

[1] Harmonised as at October 2022

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.

Bioethanol Standardization Web-series – Clean Cooking Fuel

Webinar #3 Policy, Trade, and Market Opportunities for Bioethanol as a Clean Cooking Fuel

August 31, 2022 from 15:30 – 17:00 EAT, 13:30 – 15:00 WAT, 8:30 – 10:00 EDT

In support of international best practices and harmonization for bioethanol standards, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – through its public-private partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is hosting a webinar on Bioethanol as a Clean Cooking Fuel. The series is coordinated in close partnership with the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) and Pivot Clean Energy Co (Pivot).                                                                

In sub-Saharan Africa, 80% of the population cooks with solid or fossil fuels (wood, charcoal, coal, kerosene). The region’s reliance on traditional biomass and solid fuels has enormous negative effects on the environment and health, particularly for women and children.

This webinar, the third of five in the webinar series, will provide discussion around the establishment of regulatory frameworks and smart policy that governments can consider in order to attract and foster enabling environments for emerging markets like bioethanol cooking.  This discussion will help fortify the case for supporting a transition to bioethanol clean cooking businesses and provide context for the consequent webinars that will address the standards and policy considerations for developing this market segment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Speakers will expand on:

  • Policy considerations for smart regulatory frameworks that support emerging markets
  • Implications of policies on international trade opportunities
  • Practical implementation of reviewing and revising policy

Speakers will also have time to engage with the audience after the presentations and welcome questions on their respective areas of expertise.

You can register using the following Zoom registration link: REGISTER HERE


Mike Lorenz is the Senior Vice President of Market Development with Growth Energy, a U.S. trade association that works to advance pro-bioethanol policies and expand consumer access to higher blends of bioethanol.

Jad Wakileh is an Ethanol Consultant for U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum, and related products including dried distiller’s grains with solubles and bioethanol.

Emily Marthaler currently serves as the biofuels trade policy lead for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security.

Sophie Odupoy is the Group Head of Public Affairs for KOKO Networks, an international technology company that is a leader in bioethanol cooking products and fuel.

Prof. Alex Dodoo inaugurated as the 15th ARSO President for the 2022-2025 Term of Office.

Inaugurated ARSO President Prof Alex Dodoo receives the ARSO Flag from the Outgoing President Booto a Ngon Charles

Prof. Alex Dodoo was Inaugurated by the 28th ARSO General Assembly, on 30th June 2022,in Yaoundé Cameroon, as the 15th ARSO President for the 2022-2025 Term of Office, following his election as the President-Elect by the 26th General Assembly held on a hybrid form on 16th June 2021, Taking Note, of the Constitutional Provision which under Schedule I, Rule 4, clause 4.2.2, highlights that “One year prior to the completion of office of a President, the next President shall be elected and shall commence his/her duties upon approval by the General Assembly”.

Prof. Alex Dodoo, who is also the ARSO Political Good Will Ambassador to the African Continental Free Trade Area, made commitments to take ARSO to the next level, in the context of the implementation of the goals of the ARSO 2022-2027 Strategic Plan which was also approved and adopted by the 28th ARSO General Assembly, and which focuses on:

  • Facilitation of Quality Culture in Africa with increased focus on Quality Policy at the National and Regional levels, Cooperation in standardisation activities, including Mutual Recognition Arrangements and Information Sharing.
  • The promotion and acceleration of industrialisation in Africa with a focus SMEs and the Made in Africa Products (AfCFTA Products) and Strengthening the Conformity Assessment to serve the interest of African industries, farmers, producers and consumers, while aligning Africa to universal Sustainability policy in accordance to SDG 2030.
  • Expectation on ARSO under the AfCFTA Agreement TBT Annex 6 and SPS Annex 7, and the implementation plans, under the Sub-Committee for Technical Barriers to Trade, including addressing the SPS Measures, greater partnerships, and Universal of membership of African Countries in ARSO.

28th ARSO General Assembly – Yaounde, Cameroon (2022)



28th ARSO General Assembly Events – 27THJUNE – 1ST JULY 2022

Welcome to Yaoundé, Cameroon

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The Government of the Republic of Cameroon Hosts the 28th ARSO General Assembly Events, at the Hilton Hotel, Yaoundé, through the Agence Des Normes Et De La Qualité (ANOR),

Theme: “the Standards We Want – African Union Agenda 2063 and African Continental Free Trade Area: “The Role of Standardisation and Conformity Assessment During a Journey of 41 Years”.

The General Assembly composed of the ARSO members is the Supreme organ of ARSO and meets once a year to review the progress of the Organisation based on the Yearly Strategic Plans.  This Year’s (2022) General Assembly week (27th June – 1st July 2022), hosted by the Government of the Republic of Cameroon, through ANOR, focuses on a week-long event that review the progress of ARSO Programmes under the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, since the 26th General Assembly (16th June 2021) and the Extra-Ordinary Meeting 27th ARSO General Assembly held on 7th October 2021, with forward looking into the implementation of the ARSO 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. The theme emphasises on the need for harmonised standards and Conformity Assessment Regimes that “We Want”, for the seamless flow of goods and Services in a single Market under the AfCFTA Agreement, while facilitating global Market Access Global Trading Systems and in meeting the Aspirations of Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 SDGs.

Message from the ARSO President and the Director General of Agence des Normes et de la Qualité (ANOR), Mr. BOOTO à NGON Charles.  The Standards We Want”.

Mr. BOOTO à NGON Charles

On behalf of the ARSO Fraternity and the ANOR Administration, I welcome you to Yaoundé Cameroon for the 2022 ARSO Week, to discuss the standardisation strategy for the Africa we Want, based on effective Quality Infrastructure and Africa Quality Policy. As you are aware, the decision by the African Union to adopt the African Quality Policy and the current momentum being witnessed to achieve the Africa’s regional integration and industrialization Agenda as reinforced the Aspirations of Agenda 2063, Africa we Want, Industrialised, Self -reliant and trading more with itself, on products and services Made in Africa.  As we celebrate, therefore, the milestones in standardisation in Africa, at the ARSO 2022 Week, the 28th ARSO GA Events, I wish to point out that, the fast-tracking of the implementation of its Flagship Project, the AfCFTA Agreement, explains, therefore, why the increased need for strengthening the capacity of Quality infrastructure in African countries in relations to  metrology, standards (Technical Regulations), accreditation and conformity assessment to address the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) issues remains a key strategy for the Achievement of the Agenda 2063, the Africa we Want, prosperous and self-reliant. This requires appropriate Standards. As an intergovernmental body, ARSO, in partnerships with the regional and International Standardisation Community, continues to harmonise Standards and Conformity Assessment Regimes, that we want, to achieve this goal. The Standards that will facilitate the competitiveness of the African SMEs, Made in Africa Products and the establishment the Regional Value Chains for increased intra-African Trade. ANOR welcomes you to the Weeklong ARSO 2022 Week to discuss the Standards we want for the next 41 years, under the Agenda 2063.

Message from the ARSO Secretary General, Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, in understanding the Mandate of ARSO in the Context of “The Role of Standardisation and Conformity Assessment During a Journey of next 41 Years”.

Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana

There is no doubt that the next 41 years of Africa Integration Agenda needs a Universal membership of African countries in ARSO and greater partnerships between International and African Standardisation Community under the PAQI Platform, for Common “Standards and harmonised Conformity Assessment” regimes that “we want” to reduce the regulatory burden (which currently has hindered intra-Africa trade and global market access) of African producers, traders and Consumers. As the ARSO Fraternity welcomes you to the events of the 28th ARSO General Assembly, we must stay focused to the reality that making the AfCFTA work effectively requires establishing the mechanisms envisaged in its operative provisions, protocols and Annexes and introducing the obligations it imposes into the laws and regulations of each state Party. Within its TBT Annex 6 and TBT Annex 7, AfCFTA Agreement, binds all state parties 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. Formed in 1977 by the African Union (formerly OAU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and currently with a membership of Forty two (42) African countries, (has (42) member States : Algeria, Botswana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, New State of Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and with Zanzibar as an Observer member.). Having ratified the ARSO Constitution and ARSO Instrument of Accession, Burundi is tipped to be the 43rd ARSO member after Chad and Somalia which have joined and will be welcomed by the 28th ARSO General Assembly.  This is in response to AfCFTA Agreement TBT Annex 6, article 6, f, which calls on State parties to promote membership, liaison and participation in the work of ISO, IEC, ARSO, AFSEC and similar international and regional standardisation organisations.  Already with a mandate (under article 6) to Harmonise standards and Conformity Assessment to facilitate the free movements of goods and Services under the African Single Market of the AfCFTA Agreement, the anticipated standards (the WANTED/DESIRABLE STANDARDS) needed to be harmonised by ARSO is comparable to the 4,547 HS6, Tarif lines for the AfCFTA. This, therefore, calls for increased cooperation, in the Context of the AfCFTA TBT Agreement Annex 6 (Article 6 – Cooperation in Standardisation; Article 7 – Cooperation in Technical Regulations and Article 8 – Cooperation in Conformity Assessment, including facilitation of Mutual Recognition Arrangements). Already the signed MoU, with an endorsed Implementation Plan, with the AfCFTA Secretary General, H.E. Wamkele Mene, on 17th November 2021, in Durban South Africa, during the IATF, 2021, provides a Framework for developing the Standards we want. For more information visit the ARSO Website:

28th ARSO General Assembly – Key Expectations

  1. The 28th ARSO General Assembly opening Ceremonies will be officially presided over by the Prime Minister of the Government of Cameroon, Joseph Dion Ngute. 
  2. The General Assembly will also be addressed by Chief Guests from the African Union, Afreximbank, UNECA, AfDB, and ISO.
  3. Election of New ARSO Council and the Inauguration of the New ARSO President, Prof. Alex Dodoo for the Term of Office 2022-2025
  4. One week long Capacity building Workshop for ARSO TCs Chairpersons and Secretariates and ARSO CACO members
Official admission of three New ARSO Members by the General Assembly into ARSO Membership as witnessed the Stakeholders
Somalia – Somalia Bureau of Standards, Chad – l’Agence Tchadienne de Normalisation, BurundiBurundi Bureau of standards and quality control (BNCQ)
Discussions and Recommendations at the African Day of Standardisation Workshop under the four sessions of: Session 1 – Pharmaceuticals and Medical devices industry; Session 2 – Value addition and access to market for Agriculture and Food products; Session 3 – Automotive Industry  , and Session 4 – Sustainability standards role within the AfCFTA.
Week long Made in Africa Expo – for the Cameroon Local Industries and SMEs – Awards Ceremony for the best three Exhibitors (Recognition Awards for the 9th ARSO Continental Essay Competitions 2021/2022)
Engagements with Stakeholders and Development Partners on cooperation within the ARSO 2022-2027 Strategic Plan to be approved by the GA during the 28th General Assembly.
Networking, engagements and Discussions during the Gala Dinner, Welcoming Cocktail and Industrial/lab visits.

Expected Delegates at the 28th ARSO General Assembly Events

Representatives of:

ARSO Champions Members:Botswana (Vice Chairperson), Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe). Chaired by the Chairperson, Zambia.
ARSO-AfDB Steering Committee:(ARSO Vice President, ARSO Treasurer, ARSO Secretary General, ARSO Technical Director, ARSO Project Coordinator, UNECA Representative).
ARSO Council Members:  Botswana (Vice President), Burkina Faso (Treasurer), DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe) Chaired by the President.  
ARSO Members (42):  Algeria, Botswana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, New State of Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Zanzibar as an Observer member.
African Countries which are Non ARSO Members:  Angola, CAR, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Eritrea, Mozambique, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Rep., São Tomé & Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho. 
ARSO Stakeholders: African Union, African Organisations, RECs, PAQI Institutions, International Organisations and Development Partners:  ARSO Stakeholders and Development Partners: African Union, AfCFTA Secretariat., Afreximbank, AfDB, UNECA, PAQI (AFRIMETS, AFRAC, AFSEC), RECS (AMU, COMESA, CEN-SAD, EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC, SACU, EAGC, EABC, CBC,), IAPSC, OAPI, ARIPO, AUDA-NEPAD, KENAS, SANAS,, NRSC, TMEA, IACO, IEC-AFRC, AOAC, AFNOR, AAS, COTECNA, DNVGL-France, AMC -APEX, ASTML International, ANSI, AOAC, AMCOW, GIZ-Germany, PTB-Germany, BSI, COLEACP, ISMIIC, ESMA-UAE, HAI-UAE, COTECNA, IEC, Intertek, IEEE, UL, , ITFC, BADEA, FAIRTRADE Africa, HIAF, KATS-Korea, NESTLE, CEN-CENELEC, RNF, INBAR, AFNOR, CEN-CENELEC, INBAR, Proctor and Gamble, PTB-Germany, DNVGL, QCI, SIS, RNF, ISO, ITC, ITU, SAC-China, , UNIDO, UNECE, UL, WTO…

ARSO TC 12 Publishing of 6 Draft Standards (Deadline – 4th April 2022)

ARSO/TC 12 the committee dealing with the harmonization of Cereals, pulses and derived products approved the 6 Drafts Standards for members to conduct Public Review, (Enquiry stage).

1. DARS 461-2022, Maize grains (Corn) – Specification


2. DARS 462-2022 Sorghum grains — Specification


3. DARS 463-2022, Pearl millet grains – Specification


4. DARS 464-2022, Milled rice – Specification


5. DARS 466-2022, Milled maize products – Specification


6. DARS 858-2022, Rough (paddy) rice – Specification


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Please note that as per the ASHAM Procedure the Public Review, (Enquiry stage) period is sixty days and the committee Secretary will be compiling the outcomes on the 4th April 2022.

At the close of business on 4th April 2022 the ARSO TC 12 committee Secretary Mr. Nathaniel Kofi Brakoh through email; and copy; will be receiving the comments from Public Review, (Enquiry stage) for collation and subsequent consideration by the TC.

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)

Afreximbank Supports ARSO in the Harmonisation of African Automotive Standards

Nairobi, 8 June 2021: – African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is supporting the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) to harmonise standards in the automotive sector in Africa in order to facilitate an accelerated development of the sector across the continent. The harmonised standards are to be adopted by individual African countries, facilitating cross-border trade, under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

There are 1432 international automotive standards worldwide largely developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation and the American Society for Testing and Materials. To initiate the process of developing African Automotive standards, ARSO prioritised what are referred to as “Whole Vehicle Standards” encompassing motor vehicle components, accessories, and replacement parts.

It is anticipated that some 250 standards will need to be harmonised based on the basic components, accessories and replacement parts which are necessary to keep a vehicle safe and operational. ARSO had initially targeted 18 basic standards based on the demands of the industry to facilitate the development of the automotive sector on the continent. Since inception of the project in 2019, ARSO has, with the support of Afreximbank, been successful in harmonising 42 international standards, well above the targeted 18.

ARSO is planning to launch the completed harmonised African Automotive standards by June 2021 in six countries, namely Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

An initial grant provided by Afreximbank was critical in highlighting the importance of harmonising standards in the automotive sector and opened the way to other partners to come on board. The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Germany has now agreed to fund the second phase, targeting a further 100 standards with the goal of reaching 250 standards by the end of 2022.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, commented: “In line with Afreximbank’s mandate to drive industrialization and intra-African trade, we are delighted to be supporting the harmonisation of automotive standards on the continent as a crucial step towards the creation and development of a vibrant automotive industry in Africa. Our support has enabled achievement of substantial progress within a short period of time. This is part of Afreximbank’s drive to establish and upgrade standards in various sectors working with diverse partners to support intra-African trade and the structural transformation of African economies under the AfCFTA.”

Afreximbank has adopted a comprehensive automotive strategy under which the Bank is supporting the development of automotive regional value chains, automotive financing, industrial policy and capacity building. The focus on automotive is driven by the Bank’s recognition of its capacity to foster regional value chains and high-quality jobs. The Bank will also organise an automotive show as part of the intra-African Trade Fair, which will give a platform to auto manufacturers, assemblers, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and component suppliers to exhibit their products and interact with potential buyers and suppliers.

Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, ARSO’s Secretary General, said: “Harmonisation of Automotive sector standards is a collective effort of ARSO Members States, private sector players and regulatory agencies. The harmonised standards will pave the way for the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to widen the markets for Africa’s automotive industry under the AfCFTA by creating a reliable network of automotive components and strengthening environmental performance through harmonization of standards for fuels, roadworthiness, transportation of dangerous goods, power driven vehicles and homologation. We commend our partnership with Afreximbank in the harmonization of standards on the continent”.

David Coffey the CEO of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) said: “ARSO needs to be complimented for the work that they have done in harmonising the 42 automotive standards to date. These are critical in facilitating the development of the automotive industry on the continent.”

“The AAAM vision is to work with strategic partners, such as Afreximbank and ARSO to develop a Pan-African Auto Pact, which conceptualises the establishment of an African Automotive Development Plan, built around a few assembly hubs in the Central, South, East, West, and North of Africa. These hubs are then supported by a spread of value-adding activities in neighboring economies. This will ensure that there is industrial development in all participating countries, and that associated economic benefits are distributed among these countries. Harmonised African Automotive standards are essential for the long-term success of the Auto Pact and we applaud the work that ARSO and Afreximbank are doing to help achieve that.”

The African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) recently signed a MOU with Afreximbank paving the way for a collaboration aimed at supporting the emergence of a dynamic African automotive industry. Afreximbank and AAAM will work together to foster the emergence of regional value chains with a focus on value-added manufacturing, created through partnerships between Global Original Equipment Manufacturers, suppliers, and local partners.

– Ends –

African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and Underwriters Laboratories Standards Workshop Series

Each session will feature an overview of the emerging technology, along with a presentation on how UL Standards can help to guide development by addressing associated safety challenges.

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What are the harmonized African standards for the automotive sector all about?

Image Courtesy of Mobius Motors


The African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have developed a collaboration framework to harmonize standards and conformity assessment in order to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), boost intra-African Trade and contribute to African industrialization as key pillars of Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Among the first areas of collaboration, AFREXIMBANK and ARSO have identified the automotive sector as a catalytic area that will spur the core automotive industry (vehicle and parts makers) and support a wide range of business segments, both upstream and downstream, along with adjacent industries. This leads to a multiplier effect for growth and economic development across many sectors in the continent.

One of the major actions is that ARSO has convened technical meetings of the ARSO/TC 59 on Automotive Technology and Engineering to serve as the platform for the harmonization of standards for the automotive sector in Africa.

NSBs nominated two suitable experts, one from the national standards body and one expert from the manufacturing sector with appropriate qualifications matching the scope of the Technical Committee to participate in the harmonization of standards for the automotive sector including formulation of workshop agreements, review of international standards for adoption and handle the harmonization work of the identified preliminary new work items.

Current situation

According to (Madden, 2020), the European Union, Japan and the United States exported 14 million used vehicles worldwide- 40percent of which entered the African continent. The high demand for these vehicles was attributed to their low prices and the absence of a sizeable middle-class population. However, there is a major trade-off for the low cost. A new wave of dynamism among African policymakers and business communities is expected with key renewable technologies falling in prices and giving lee-way to innovation and growth since, these imported used vehicles are often of poor quality and are highly susceptible to failing roadworthiness tests in the exporting countries (UNEP, 2020). 

Consequently, these vehicles contribute to air pollution which hampers efforts to combat climate change. In fact, emissions from these vehicles are a major source of small particulates and nitrogen oxides which are responsible for urban pollution (Africa Business, 2020). 25 percent of energy-related greenhouse emissions across the globe are caused by vehicles. As a result, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the continent is slowed down. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), it is evident that these imported vehicles are not only environmental hazards but also a leading cause of road accidents within the continent (UNEP, 2020). It is unfortunate that Africa has the highest road traffic fatality rates where about 250,000 people die annually. By 2030, the number is projected to rise to 514,000 according to the World Health Organization (World Health Organization, 2020).

The other key problem facing Africa is the provision of not only modern but also affordable, sustainable and reliable energy. This is a pivot point in the achievement of the Africa we want, through the Agenda 2063 strategic framework.

It is therefore crucial that there is not only vehicle homologation but also a well implemented quality management system which plays a key role in ensuring the proper tests are done on the imported and manufactured vehicles to confirm that these vehicles are still in good states.

In Africa, road transport dominates in most countries as it covers 80-90% of the passenger and freight traffic (Export-Import Bank of India, 2018). According to the World Bank, it is estimated that the continent carries out trade worth up to US$200 billion annually. In Africa, most rural areas depend completely on roads for connectivity. Unfortunately, the road density across Africa per person and square kilometer is much lower compared to other regions (UNECA, 2009). However, there is need to adequately manage and utilize the available road systems.

Furthermore, a major challenge is observed in Africa’s industrialization. It is likely that the lack of structural change during the economic expansion since 2000 will slow down the rate of future growth (Black, Makundi, & McLennan, 2017). In Africa, the automotive industry is relatively sophisticated, but there is need to constantly attract investment into parts of the sector which are more in line with the progress of lower income countries. The sub-Saharan Africa is expanding its market rapidly although there is still a $16.3 billion deficit in the sector. Despite being well endowed with adequate raw materials, there is still a large underutilization of these resources. Africa countries are now leaning towards more manufacturing rather than import of vehicles (Schiller & Pillay, 2016).

In lieu of this, the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) with support of the African Export–Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), has been committed to ensuring that the Africa we want through the Agenda 2063 is achievable by coming up with harmonized standards that directly affect the automotive sector. The following listed standards have been harmonized through the ARSO Technical Committee (ARSO TC 59) on Automotive Technology and Engineering of which membership is composed of experts from 17 ARSO member states: (1) DR. Congo, (2)Egypt, (3)Ghana, (4)Kenya, (5)Madagascar, (6)Malawi, (7)Mauritius, 8.Namibia, (9)Nigeria, (10)Rwanda, (11)Seychelles, (12)Sierra Leone, (13)South Africa, (14)Tanzania, (15)Zambia, (16)Zimbabwe and (17)Zanzibar as an observer member.

African Standards (ARS) Harmonised by the TC 59

  1. ARS 1355-1:2020, Vehicle Standards — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 1: Roadworthiness of vehicles already in use
  2. ARS 1355-2:2020, Vehicle Standards — Specification for vehicle roadworthiness — Part 2: Roadworthiness of vehicles prior to entry into service and thereafter
  3. ARS 1355-3:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 3: Supporting information
  4. ARS 1355-4:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 4: Requirements for vehicle examiners
  5. ARS 1355-5:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 5: Requirements for testing equipment
  6. ARS 1355-6:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 6: Requirements for combinations of vehicles
  7. ARS 1357:2020, Vehicle test station evaluation — Code of practice
  8. ARS 1362-2020, Automotive Fuels—Unleaded Petrol-Requirements and test methods
  9. ARS 1363-2020, Automotive Fuels—Diesel—Requirements and test methods
  10. ARS 1370:2020, Transportation of dangerous goods by road
  11. ARS 1379-2020, Definitions and classifications of power-driven vehicles and trailers
  12. ARS 1371:2020, Cross border road transport management system (XB-RTMS)
  13. ARS 1595:2020 Vehicle homologation – All Categories

International Standards recommended for adoption by Member States

  1. ISO/IEC 18013-1:2018, Information technology — Personal identification — ISO-compliant driving licence — Part 1: Physical characteristics and basic data set
  2. ISO/IEC 18013-2:2020, Information technology — Personal identification — ISO-compliant driving licence — Part 2: Machine-readable technologies
  3. ISO/IEC 18013-3:2017, Information technology — Personal identification — ISO-compliant driving licence — Part 3: Access control, authentication and integrity validation
  4. ISO/IEC 18013-4:2019, Personal identification — ISO-compliant driving licence — Part 4: Test methods
  5. ISO 3779:2009, Road vehicles — Vehicle identification number (VIN) — Content and structure
  6. ASTM D4950:2019, Standard classification and specification for automotive service greases
  7. EN 13012:2012, Petrol filling stations — Construction and performance of automatic nozzles for use on fuel dispensers
  8. EN 15293:2018, Automotive fuels — Automotive ethanol (E85) fuel — Requirements and test methods
  9. EN 15376:2014, Automotive fuels — Ethanol as a blending component for petrol — Requirements and test methods
  10. EN 16709:2015+A1:2018, Automotive fuels — High FAME diesel fuel (B20 and B30) — Requirements and test methods
  11. EN 16734:2016+A1:2018, Automotive fuels — Automotive B10 diesel fuel — Requirements and test methods
  12. EN 589:2018, Automotive fuels — LPG — Requirements and test methods
  13. ISO 4925:2020, Road vehicles — Specification of non-petroleum-based brake fluids for hydraulic systems
  14. ISO 4926:2006, Road vehicles — Hydraulic braking systems — Non-petroleum-base reference fluids
  15. SAE J 2227:2019, Global tests and specifications for automotive engine oils
  16. SAE J1616:2016, Standard for Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel
  17. SAE J1616:2017, Recommended Practice for Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel
  18. SAE J1703:2019, Motor vehicle brake fluids
  19. SAE J310:2005, Automotive lubricating greases
  20. SAE J357:2016, Physical and Chemical Properties of Engine Oils
  21. UNECE 100:2013 Rev. 2, Uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to specific requirements for the electric power train
  22. UNECE R 052RV3:2008, Uniform provisions concerning the approval of M2 and M3 small capacity vehicles with regard to their general construction
  23. UNECE R 110 concerning Uniform provisions concerning the approval of: I. Specific components of motor vehicles using compressed natural gas (CNG) and/or liquefied natural gas (LNG) in their propulsion system II. Vehicles with regard to the installation of specific components of an approved type for the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) and/or liquefied natural gas (LNG) in their propulsion system
  24. UNECE R 115 concerning Uniform provisions concerning the approval of: I. Specific LPG (liquefied petroleum gases) retrofit systems to be installed in motor vehicles for the use of LPG in their propulsion system II. Specific CNG (compressed natural gas) retrofit systems to be installed in motor vehicles for the use of CNG in their propulsion system
  25. UNECE R 136 concerning Uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles of category L with regard to specific requirements for the electric power train
  26. .
  27. UNECE Regulation No 107 Uniform provisions concerning the approval of category M2 or M3 vehicles with regard to their general construction
  28. UNECE Regulation No. 36:2008. Rev. 3, Uniform provisions concerning the approval of large passenger vehicles with regard to their general construction
  29. UNECE-R146_Regulation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles of category L

These first 13 standards are discussed in-depth within this article:

Six parts of the ARS 1355 on Roadworthiness

ARS 1355 Part 1: Vehicle Standards — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 1: Roadworthiness of vehicles already in use

It identifies the requirements for the examination and testing for roadworthiness of all motor vehicles within territories and across borders. It covers key aspects on emissions, leaks, compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas propulsion systems as well as electric and hybrid systems.

ARS 1355-2:2020, Vehicle Standards — Specification for vehicle roadworthiness — Part 2: Roadworthiness of vehicles prior to entry into service and thereafter

It specifies the design safety requirements for used road vehicles prior to the date of entry into service and when operating on a public road. It however does not cover special requirements or concessions for certification of fitness for operations across the borders.

ARS 1355-3:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 3: Supporting information

This standard provides information intended to support the vehicle examiner and test stations using other parts of the specification.

ARS 1355-4:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 4: Requirements for vehicle examiners

It contains information that is useful in the selection and appointment of vehicle examiners, their duties, their training and ongoing updating of vehicle examiners.

ARS 1355-5:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 5: Requirements for testing equipment

This standard contains information on the selection and installation of the testing equipment needed to test the roadworthiness of vehicles in accordance with the requirements for the range of defined test lane classes that comprise the defined vehicle testing station categories.

ARS 1355-6:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 6: Requirements for combinations of vehicles

This provides specifications of methods applicable to be used in and the extent of, the examination of motor vehicles that are subjected to a roadside assessment for roadworthiness bylaw enforcement officers. It is mainly intended for application by heavy vehicles or combinations of heavy vehicles that exceed 3500 kg at a roadside inspection or whilst the vehicle is standing idle at a weigh station, customs post or similar and shall be used as a walk-around visual check.

ARS 1357:2020, Vehicle test station evaluation — Code of practice

Since the continent is gearing towards manufacture of vehicles within its boundaries, there was need to have a standard which governs vehicle testing station evaluation. p ARS 1357:2020 provides the best code of practice for such a station. The standard applies for principal grades of vehicle testing. They include grade A, B and C. There is a detailed organization of the Vehicle Test Station from the management representative, to field of application and methods and policy documentation. The standard also provides the structure of the quality management system which governs the quality documentation and control of the documentation within the test station. The review of the quality management system is detailed within the standard too.

ARS 1362-2020, Automotive Fuels—Unleaded Petrol-Requirements and test methods

This standard specifies 2 types of unleaded petrol where one has a maximum oxygen content of 3.7% (m/m) and maximum ethanol content of 10.0% (v/v). The other one is intended for use by older vehicles which are unwarranted to use unleaded petrol with a high biofuel content. This has a maximum oxygen content of 2.7% (m/m) and maximum ethanol content of 5.0% (v/v).

The standard also provides tables with values that are the limits specified. Also, there are some climatically dependent requirements and test methods such as water tolerance and volatility requirements which have been discussed in-depth within the standard.

ARS 1363-2020, Automotive Fuels—Diesel—Requirements and test methods

This is a standard that specifies the requirements and the test methods for marketed and delivered automotive diesel fuel. It is applicable to automotive diesel fuel for use in diesel engines. For the general requirements and related test methods, the diesel is expected to be within the limits specified in the tables provided in the standard. Diesel fuel shall also be free from any adulterants or contaminants which may render the fuel unacceptable for use in diesel engine vehicles.

ARS 1370:2020, Transportation of dangerous goods by road

This standard provides a harmonized common standard which governs the transport of classified goods by road in Africa. It ensures that all participants abide by the same rules which ultimately leads to safe operation and safety of the society. Within the standard, matters concerning administrative measures and exemptions on dangerous goods are addressed in-depth. The standard further provides a classification on dangerous goods. Some of the classifications provided in the standard include class 1 which covers explosives, class 2 covers gases, classes 3 and 4 cover flammable liquids and solids respectively while class 6 deals with toxic and infectious substances. Radioactive material is classified in class 7, while corrosive substances are in class 8. Finally, all miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles like environmentally hazardous substances are in class 9. For packing purposes of these substances, there are some packing groups which are designed to cover products of high, medium and low danger. There is a provision in the standard which describes dangerous goods and provides some special provisions applicable for road transportation of the goods. In addition, the standard covers the various security measures and precautions which should be taken to minimize theft or misuse of the goods that may endanger persons, property or the environment. All the requirements for the responsible parties to which safety obligations are assigned are also identified within the standard.

The standard clearly indicates the design and construction requirements for the vehicles to be used in the transport of the dangerous goods and the emergency information systems that can be put in place such as marking containers and placarding. The necessary requirements for packaging for road transport as well as the standards and specifications for vehicles and equipment are identified in the standard.

This standard is applicable for use by all private and national sectors across the continent which are involved in the transport of dangerous goods across borders via road.

ARS 1371:2020, Cross border road transport management system (XB-RTMS)

This standard, as others, is a voluntary self-regulation scheme which encourages the cross-border transport operators to implement a Road Transport Management System across the borders. The system described in the standard is expected to not only preserve the road infrastructure but also improve road safety. Besides, it prioritizes the vehicle roadworthiness, ensures responsible driving behavior, promotes driver health and wellness, fosters skill development, optimizes efficiency and complies with the respective border and regulatory requirements. The implementation of the standard is key in ensuring efficient and safe transport is achieved across the continent. The transport operator is at liberty to develop the most appropriate processes, systems and measurement methods which will adequately demonstrate compliance to the standard.

The standard provides general requirements concerning fleet inventory and its requirements, documentation. There is also a provision of requirements for load assessment and verification such as the methods to assess the vehicle mass before any laden trip. It further addresses matters on road safety, maintenance of roadworthy vehicles, as well as vehicle and load safety. Under vehicle and load safety, the standard addresses how best to monitor crashes, incidents as well as insurance claims. Driver health and wellness is also covered within the standard together with the various documents required to adequately implement and monitor the performance of the standard. Finally, the standard provides the border and regional requirements since there is an increased flow of goods and globalization of trade across the continent.

ARS 1379-2020, Definitions and classifications of power-driven vehicles and trailers

This is a standard that defines and classifies all wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts which can be used on the wheeled vehicles. The standard classifies power driven vehicles and trailers into Category L which are motor vehicles with two, three and four wheels. The category L vehicles is sub-categorized into L1 to L7. These sub-categories are based on the weight, number of wheels, and the size of engine. Moreover, there is category M which are power driven vehicles that have at least four wheels and used for carriage of passengers. Under category M vehicles, M1 M2 and M3 are classified according to the number of passengers and maximum mass they can ferry. Category N, which covers power-driven vehicles that have at least 4 wheels and are used for carriage of goods provides room for categories N1, N2 and N3 which are determined by the weight these vehicles can ferry. Meanwhile, Category O is a provision for trailers and semi-trailers which are classified further into O1 O2 O3 & O4 depending on the weight they can carry. The standard also defines special purpose vehicles such as hearses, agricultural vehicles under categories T, R and S. Off-road vehicles are also defined within the standard.

ARS 1595:2020, Vehicle homologation – All Categories

This standard is critical for motor vehicles categories which are not previously registered in any country. It does not cover vehicles designed and constructed for use in construction sites, military services, mobile machinery, prototypes or motor sport competition. The standard details the administrative requirements highlighting in specific administrative measures, application forms, declaration of conformity and the various provisions of E-Certificates or test reports. Within the standard, the provision of a vehicle sample which precedes issuance of a certification of homologation is discussed. Technical requirements to be adhered to for the various categories of vehicles are highlighted in this standard.

Benefits of adopting these standards!

  • Although real trade among ratified countries has commenced under the AfCFTA agreement, it is crucial that countries adopt harmonised standards so as to ensure that road worthy vehicles are imported into their borders. This will go a long way in ensuring that we minimize the carbon emissions in the continent which will lead to environmental preservation. Besides, adhering to the specifications will significantly lower the death toll caused by road accidents attributed to unroadworthy vehicles. As a result, achieving the Africa we want through the agenda 2063 will come closer to being a reality.
  • Standards vehicle testing facilities as well as vehicle manufacturers and importers. With these standards in place and with real trade commencing under the AfCFTA, there will be less technical barriers to trade due to the harmonization of the standards.
  • Standardization of the automotive fuels is set to deliver business and environmental benefits in Africa. By adhering to the limits set in the standards, there will be a significant reduction in the carbon-footprint within the continent and this will help in environmental conservation and reduction in global warming (Schiller& Davies, 2018). Also, having a single guide in Africa on the automotive fuel specifications will help synchronize the systems and adequately facilitate real trade between African countries especially with the commencement of real trade in January 2021 through the AfCFTA.
  • The application of the standards for transportation of dangerous goods will promote safe handling of dangerous goods, human health, plant health and animal health generally benefit from the application of this standard.   
  • Last but not least, the harmonised standard for vehicle homologation will facilitate the Private to gain legal access to target markets and to generate higher revenues, ensure rapid and safe delivery of products to consumers, alleviate costly penalties and fines for non-compliance or costly recalls of rejected products and boost brand reputation among consumers and regulators by ensuring vehicle safety.

Who can use these standards?

Depending on the type of activity, these specifications can be used by fuel processing companies within the continent, road transport operators, vehicle manufacturers and assemblers, law enforcement officers, vehicle examiners, and national regulators across the continent.