African technocrats have been challenged to ensure successful implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement to the overall benefit of the people.
Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim gave the challenge at the opening of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) 65th Council meeting ongoing in Accra, Ghana.
According to Salim, the Continent’s political leaders have done their bit by signing the agreement thus passing the challenge of successful implementation to the technocrats.
He commended the role being played by ARSO particularly in the development and harmonisation of Continental standards by member states of the organisation.
The SON Chief Executive emphasised the need for all standards bodies in Africa to promote faster adoption of Continental Standards, harmonisation of Conformity Assessment facilities and enter into mutual recognition agreements to facilitate movement of goods across African borders and with the rest of the world without inhibition.
These he said, would ensure that standards are not used as technical barriers to free intra and inter-African trade
Mallam Salim posited that development and harmonisation of Standards at regional and continental levels are critical components for the success of the AfCFTA agreement implementation.
The SON Chief Executive disclosed that Nigeria in collaboration with the ARSO Central Secretariat recently organized a virtual Stakeholders’ awareness forum on 43 automobile African standards that are in the process of being adopted as Nigerian Industrial Standards for implementation.
He commended the impressive participation of Stakeholders in Nigeria in the forum and enjoined them to voluntarily uptake the Standards after adoption.
Salim disclosed that the Accra meeting was also to receive and review reports from member Nations of ARSO charged with the responsibility of championing the active involvement of non-member countries in Continental drive for standards and conformity assessment.
According to him, Nigeria has successfully championed the active membership of Sierra Leone while Gambia was at the verge of becoming an associate member of ARSO, following encouragement and support from Nigeria.