(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).
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 www.intracen.org.
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.
Susanna Pak Senior Strategic Communications Officer International Trade Centre E: firstname.lastname@example.org T : +41 22 730 0651 M : +41 79 667 4660
Philip Okungu Documentation and Information Manager African Organisation for Standardisation E : email@example.com T : +2562224561 M : +256712370753