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UNBS Hosts Training of African Experts Responsible for Standards Development and Harmonization Required to Facilitate Intra-Africa Trade Under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

  27th March , 2023 ,       Hits: 2214

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) in conjunction with the African Regional Standards Organization (ARSO) is hosting over 60 Experts across the African Continent for a three (3) days training in Kampala, Golden Tulip Hotel held under the theme “The Standards we want – African Union Agenda 2063 and African Continental Free Trade Area, “The role of Standardisation and Conformity Assessment during the journey of 41 years”.  The Experts are drawn from the National Standards Bodies, Academia, Industry and other Regulatory Bodies responsible for developing and harmonizing Standards which are required to facilitate Intra-Africa Trade under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The training is intended to enhance skills and capacity of these Experts to effectively contribute to the Standard harmonization process at ARSO.

According to Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru, the Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), this capacity building of Experts is aimed at responding to the increasing demand for African Countries to increase the volume of trade among themselves, which is currently standing at 16%.  According to him, the Bureau is currently championing integration of Standards at both Regional and Continental level when the Regional Economic Blocs such as the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC), InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are all aspiring to harmonize standards for their priority commodities to be traded under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on the basis of having One Standard, One Test, One Conformity Certificate for Once Market.

According to Mr. Hermogene Nsegimana, the Secretary General of African Regional Standards Organization (ARSO), so far, 54 African countries have signed the AfCFTA Agreement and 47 Member Countries have ratified it to date.  He says, implementation of AfCFTA is expected to increase the volume of Intra Africa trade from the current 16% to over 40% by 2045 as per the study conducted by UNECA.

Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, the Senior Presidential Advisor of Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) and also an Entrepreneur in the Dairy Sector, urged the Standards’ Experts to preserve African Heritage and Culture by prioritizing indigenous Standards for African Organic Products which don’t require any modifications to their natural content and nutritional and avoid temptation of the emerging influence of technology for Genetically Modified Products. He informed the audience about Uganda’s 13 priority commodities to which are ready to be traded in the African Market, which include Coffee, Dairy products, Beef, Fish, Cereals, Grains, Horticulture, Pharmaceuticals, other Agricultural and industrial products.

The Chairman of UNBS National Standards Council, Mr. Charles Musekuura urged Experts to always bear in mind that the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is in their hands given that compliance to Quality Standards remains one of the major constraint for African products to access both Regional and International Markets. He therefore asked the Experts to provide solutions to the current African problems of Market Access, through harmonization of Standards to facilitate and integrate trade and investments within the Continent.

 UNBS will also be hosting the Joint Advisory Group (JAG) and Standards Management Committee (SMC) of ARSO during the week to further foster continued liaisons with Regional Economic Communities ((AMU, CEN-SAD, EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, COMESA, IGAD, SADC) in standardization and prioritize sectors/commodities that require harmonization of Standards at the Continental level as well as improve the management of procedures and processes for timely execution of harmonization programmes.

About ARSO

The African Organization for Standardisation (ARSO) is an African Intergovernmental organization established in 1977 by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), currently the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) with the principal mandate of harmonising African Standards and Conformity Assessment Procedures in order to reduce Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and promote Intra-African and International Trade, as well as enhance the industrialization of Africa.

Membership of ARSO is open to all African Countries through the National Standards Bodies (NSBs) or Departments dealing in implementation and enforcement of Quality Standards and Technical Regulations. ARSO has Membership from 43 African Countries and 1 Observer Member of the 55 Countries in the Continent.

About UNBS

Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is a Government Agency responsible for Development, Promotion and Enforcement of Standards in order to protect the Health and Safety on the Public and the Environment against Harmful and Substandard Products, as well as Promoting Fair Trade and Competition.

The Bureau represents Uganda among the twelve (12) Member Countries of the ARSO Governing Board and also Chairs the Standards Management Committee (SMC) of ARSO.

For more information, please contact:

Uganda National Bureau of Standards,

Plot 2 - 12, Bypass Link, Bweyogerere Industrial & Business Park,

P.O Box 6329 Kampala, Uganda.

Telephone: 256 417 333250

Toll Free Line: 0800133133

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