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.
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
- ARS 1355-1:2020, Vehicle Standards — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 1: Roadworthiness of vehicles already in use
- ARS 1355-2:2020, Vehicle Standards — Specification for vehicle roadworthiness — Part 2: Roadworthiness of vehicles prior to entry into service and thereafter
- ARS 1355-3:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 3: Supporting information
- ARS 1355-4:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 4: Requirements for vehicle examiners
- ARS 1355-5:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 5: Requirements for testing equipment
- ARS 1355-6:2020, Road vehicles — Specification for Vehicle Roadworthiness — Part 6: Requirements for combinations of vehicles
- ARS 1357:2020, Vehicle test station evaluation — Code of practice
- ARS 1362-2020, Automotive Fuels—Unleaded Petrol-Requirements and test methods
- ARS 1363-2020, Automotive Fuels—Diesel—Requirements and test methods
- ARS 1370:2020, Transportation of dangerous goods by road
- ARS 1379-2020, Definitions and classifications of power-driven vehicles and trailers
- ARS 1371:2020, Cross border road transport management system (XB-RTMS)
- ARS 1595:2020 Vehicle homologation – All Categories
International Standards recommended for adoption by Member States
- ISO/IEC 18013-1:2018, Information technology — Personal identification — ISO-compliant driving licence — Part 1: Physical characteristics and basic data set
- ISO/IEC 18013-2:2020, Information technology — Personal identification — ISO-compliant driving licence — Part 2: Machine-readable technologies
- ISO/IEC 18013-3:2017, Information technology — Personal identification — ISO-compliant driving licence — Part 3: Access control, authentication and integrity validation
- ISO/IEC 18013-4:2019, Personal identification — ISO-compliant driving licence — Part 4: Test methods
- ISO 3779:2009, Road vehicles — Vehicle identification number (VIN) — Content and structure
- ASTM D4950:2019, Standard classification and specification for automotive service greases
- EN 13012:2012, Petrol filling stations — Construction and performance of automatic nozzles for use on fuel dispensers
- EN 15293:2018, Automotive fuels — Automotive ethanol (E85) fuel — Requirements and test methods
- EN 15376:2014, Automotive fuels — Ethanol as a blending component for petrol — Requirements and test methods
- EN 16709:2015+A1:2018, Automotive fuels — High FAME diesel fuel (B20 and B30) — Requirements and test methods
- EN 16734:2016+A1:2018, Automotive fuels — Automotive B10 diesel fuel — Requirements and test methods
- EN 589:2018, Automotive fuels — LPG — Requirements and test methods
- ISO 4925:2020, Road vehicles — Specification of non-petroleum-based brake fluids for hydraulic systems
- ISO 4926:2006, Road vehicles — Hydraulic braking systems — Non-petroleum-base reference fluids
- SAE J 2227:2019, Global tests and specifications for automotive engine oils
- SAE J1616:2016, Standard for Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel
- SAE J1616:2017, Recommended Practice for Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel
- SAE J1703:2019, Motor vehicle brake fluids
- SAE J310:2005, Automotive lubricating greases
- SAE J357:2016, Physical and Chemical Properties of Engine Oils
- UNECE 100:2013 Rev. 2, Uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to specific requirements for the electric power train
- UNECE R 052RV3:2008, Uniform provisions concerning the approval of M2 and M3 small capacity vehicles with regard to their general construction
- 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
- 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
- UNECE R 136 concerning Uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles of category L with regard to specific requirements for the electric power train
- UNECE Regulation No 107 Uniform provisions concerning the approval of category M2 or M3 vehicles with regard to their general construction
- UNECE Regulation No. 36:2008. Rev. 3, Uniform provisions concerning the approval of large passenger vehicles with regard to their general construction
- 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.