March 21 is the ARSO African Day of Standardisation, which aims to create more awareness among African regulators, academia, industry, policy makers and consumers about the benefits of standardization and conformity assessment on the continent.
ARSO is the African Organization for Standardisation, and its aim is to harmonize African standards and conformity assessment procedures in order to reduce technical barriers to trade and therefore promote intra-African and international trade. It was established by the the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in 1977.
Among the organization’s many strategic objectives is the aligning of African standards with globally accepted international standards such as those published by IEC and ISO. These standards need to be consistent with the continent’s development needs. ARSO also seeks to ensure that major economic actors in strategically important sectors of national and sub-regional economies are aware of the trade-related benefits of or regionally and internationally harmonized standards.
ARSO membership is drawn from African countries through their National Bureaus of Standards. Currently ARSO includes 37 member states. The idea of an African Day of Standardisation was approved at the 49th ARSO Council held in November 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The day itself will be celebrated in Accra, Ghana, and will be hosted by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA). The theme of the celebration, which will take place form March 25 to March 27 2020, will be the role of standardization and conformity assessment in promoting the made in Africa products and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade AREA (AfCFTA) Agreement.