African Regional Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) are on the move to boost trade among African countries through harmonisation of standards.
At an event organised by the two standards body in Lagos, Dr. Kioko Mang'Eli, ARSO President, and Dr. Joseph Odumodu, SON Director General, told journalists: "Trade among African countries is abysmally low and we need to facilitate more trade among African countries."
"We are saying Africa can stop buying substandard goods coming into the continent from Asian countries by harmonizing the issues of standard, conformity assessment that are in place and making them more useful to their countries. And there is need to severe bilateral ties with countries that bring those goods by not accepting to do business with them. We ought to be doing business with countries that are friendlier in trade agreement," said Kioko.
He called on governments to support standards bodies so that they can come up with conformity regime that can stop counterfeit products from coming into their country.
He observed that current standards and conformity regimes are not geared towards unity and development of Africa, although the African Union says they want to do integration of our economy, in terms of common currency and tariff."
SON Director General, noted: "Africans are not trading with each other. I can tell you, if Africans are trading with each other, it is cheaper and more efficient. We need to build the African continent in terms of our capacity; we need to reach out and build ourselves to the level of other Continents of the world, and the only way we can do this is trading with each other.