The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) is Africas intergovernmental standards body formed by OAU (currently AU) and UNECA in 1977 in Accra Ghana. The fundamental mandate of ARSO is to develop tools for standards development, standards harmonization and implementation of these systems to enhance Africa’s internal trading capacity, increased Africas product and service competitiveness globally, and uplift of the welfare of African consumers as well as standardization forum for future prospects in international trade referencing.

While increased trade and closer economic cooperation between developing countries represent a considerable potential for development, realising this potential represents a major challenge especially in terms of an effective continental standardization infrastructure. This forms the basis for ARSO Strategic Direction as summarised in its Vision, Mission and Goals.

In carrying out its mandate, ARSO seeks to:

harmonise national and/or sub-regional standards as African Standards and issue necessary recommendations to member bodies for this purpose;
initiate and co-ordinate the development of African Standards (ARS) with references to products which are of peculiar interest to Africa;
encourage and facilitate adoption of international standards by member bodies;
promote and facilitate exchange of experts, information and co-operation in training of personnel in standardisation activities;
co-ordinate the views of its members at the ISO, IEC, OIML, Codex and other international Organisations concerned with Standardisation activities.
create appropriate bodies in addition to the organs of the organisation for the purposes of fulfilling its objectives.