History of ARSO

The African Organization for Standardisation, formerly the African Regional Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) traces its genesis to the unfolding events and the prevailing mood of the African socio-political and economic Pan-Africanism of the 1970s and the culmination of which at a Conference held at the historic and important city of Accra, Ghana.

The Kenyan Government through the then Minister Hon. Robert Ouko Signing the MOU for ARSO’s Diplomatic Status in Nairobi, Kenya with Zawdu Felleke, Secretary General – ARSO

The idea of a continental standardisation body had received considerable impetus from the buoyant and optimistic mood that characterised the post-independence period in most of Africa.  The mood then, under the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), was one of pan-African solidarity and collective self-reliance born of a shared destiny with standardisation viewed as a guidepost of the destiny and bedrock of African Economic Integration Agenda and a route to linking up of the fresh Africa’s economy with the rest of the world and to deliver the African Common Market for economic prosperity of the continent.

To read more on the history and foundation of ARSO, please click on this ARSO Establishment Document. Please also find the countries that adopted the first ARSO constitution at the founding conference on the 10th – 17th of August, 1977.  Click here for founding members of ARSO

The countries that ratified the founding constitution of ARSO in 1977 are:

Ratification Documents by Countries

Country Ratification Document
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 16th February 1982
Cote d’Ivoire Cote d’Ivoire Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 18th May 1984
Egypt Egypt Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 1st April 1977
Ethiopia Ethiopia Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 23rd June 1977
Ghana Ghana Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 22nd August 1977
Guinea Bissau Guinea Bissau Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 21st July 1982
Libya Libya Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 15th Nov 1977
Malawi Malawi Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 28th August 1977
Nigeria Nigeria Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 16th Nov 1977
Senegal Senegal Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 16th September 1978
Togo Togo Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 29th May 1978
Zaire Zaire Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 25th September 1982
Zambia Zambia Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 5th May 1982
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Ratification of ARSO Constitution, 4th December 1989

In carrying out its mandate, ARSO seeks to:

  • harmonize 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 Organizations concerned with Standardisation activities.
  • create appropriate bodies in addition to the organs of the organization for the purposes of fulfilling its objectives.