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FG canvasses standardisation to boost African trade

The federal government has called for a comprehensive standard for goods and services to boost the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). The Minister…

The federal government has called for a comprehensive standard for goods and services to boost the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, made the call in Abuja on Wednesday at the 30th General Assembly of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) hosted by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

“Standardisation is not merely about setting guidelines, it is about fostering a quality culture and ensuring that our products and services meet international benchmarks, enhance competitiveness and facilitate trade. It is about creating a unified market where quality is the norm, not the exception. This vision of One Market, One Standard is integral to achieving the aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“Subsequently, the focus on made-in-Africa gives credence to one of Africa’s greatest positive lessons from COVID-19, which is the need to focus on Africa’s regional value chains and the competitiveness of made-in-Africa products, export-oriented manufacturing, value-addition and the quality infrastructure (standardisation) to boost intra-African trade, industrialisation and self-reliance.

“The goal of my ministry, therefore, is to reposition and revitalise the Nigerian economy for sustainable growth by exploring innovative strategies to bolster our country’s economic sustainability,” she said.

The director-general of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Dr Ifeanyi Okeke, noted that the event served as an avenue to foster collaborations and further boost the already established relationship between the delegations of African countries and the international community, who are decision-makers of the ARSO activities within the continent and beyond.

He said, “The theme of this year’s General Assembly, ‘Educate an African fit for the 21st Century – Building a Quality Culture – One Market, One Standard,’ is not only apt and significant but will further cement the hope of a standardised single market.

The president of ARSO, Prof Alexander Nii Oto Dodoo, emphasised the need to develop quality and improve skills among Africa’s young population, as “standards, trade and job creation remain critical tools to be used in transforming the African economy.”

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