AU charts path for common standardization stamp

The African Organization for Standardization (ARSO), an African Union (AU) unit has set the wheels in motion to the establishment of the continent’s first commonly accepted standard for goods with a view to enhance access to international and regional markets for African Producers. Coined as Ecomark Africa (EMA), the certification issued to producers is expected to improve transparency on the origin of products to go along with the disclosure of the environmental and social conditions of production in Africa.


“There is a huge demand from consumers; people are getting wind of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the need to consume safe products. Internationally, there is a request especially in the Caribbean and South America to benchmark with this standard,” said ARSO Secretary General Hermogene Nsengimana. “From a practical sense, this marker will present products in a wider global market where it will be accepted as the Eco-marker is a confirmation of vigorous checks on acquired goods through our certification body,” ARSO President Eve Gadzikwa added.


The formulation of the standard marker is viewed as a step in the right direction and will serve to link up Africa’s fresh produce market with the rest of the world.


Kenya through its standardization body, the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KEBS), has already signed on to the voluntary amplitude to bring with it five individual firms to the table to include the Kamuthanga  Farm, KOFINAF Limited, Coffee Management Services, Kabng’etuny Coffee Corporative Society and the Kapkiyai Coffee Corporative Society.


The Standards Association of Zimbabwe is the second standards body to be signed on to the audit whose label is currently being piloted in 8 other African states which includes Cameroon, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia.


KEBS Marketing Surveillance Director Caroline Outa expects the successful implementation of the marker to ease standards conformity procedures and backs regional economic blocs (RECs), this to support the roll-out of the common standard. “RECs already have harmonized standards and could facilitate the fast tracking of discussions into uniform standards for goods across the continent and the solution to make ACFTA works,” she said.


(Citizen Digital 13 March 2019)