- KEBS ensures that products conform to quality and safety requirements, enabling Kenyan businesses to compete effectively in the African market.
- The stage is set, and the time is now.
As Africa charts a path toward economic growth and development through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it is essential that we acknowledge the potential impact on the lives of diverse industry players.
The success of this initiative will not only benefit governments and businesses but also have a profound impact on the daily lives of ordinary Africans, touching the very fabric of their existence.
Indeed, the transformative power of the AfCFTA cannot be understated; as an African proverb wisely reminds us, "When the music changes, so does the dance."
This shift in rhythm ushers in a new era filled with a multitude of opportunities, challenges, and aspirations waiting to be seized and fulfilled, thus creating a harmonious symphony of progress across the continent.
To ensure the realisation of the AfCFTA’ s potential, key stakeholders such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) have been actively working towards increasing intra-African trade and facilitating the implementation of the AfCFTA.
KEBS, as a leading standardisation body in the region, plays a vital role in enhancing intra-African trade. The organisation has been at the forefront of efforts to develop and implement harmonised standards that promote trade and economic integration within the continent.
It ensures that products conform to quality and safety requirements, enabling Kenyan businesses to compete effectively in the African market.
The body has been actively engaged in capacity-building programs, providing technical assistance, and training to local businesses to enhance their compliance with international standards.
This proactive approach by KEBS is facilitating the participation of Kenyan businesses in the AfCFTA and contributing to the growth of intra-African trade.
ARSO, as the regional standardisation body, plays a central role in accelerating the implementation of the AfCFTA. Recently, during the just concluded ARSO General Assembly meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, the organisation reaffirmed its commitment to support the AfCFTA's objectives.
The theme of the meeting, "Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area and Implementation: One Standard-One Test-One Certificate-Accepted Everywhere," underscores ARSO's dedication to harmonising standards and facilitating trade across the continent.
Through its collaboration with national standardisation bodies like KEBS, ARSO is spearheading the development and adoption of harmonised standards that will eliminate technical barriers to trade, streamline processes, and foster a seamless movement of goods and services within Africa.
This commitment by ARSO is a crucial step towards the successful implementation of the AfCFTA and the realisation of its potential to drive economic growth and development across the continent.
It is encouraging to see the tangible efforts and progress being made by KEBS, ARSO, and other standardisation bodies in Africa in the context of the AfCFTA.
These organisations are not merely discussing the need for harmonised standards and increased collaboration; they are actively implementing solutions and taking concrete steps toward achieving these goals.
By developing harmonised standards that cater to the diverse African marketplace, KEBS is ensuring that Kenyan businesses are well-positioned to participate in the AfCFTA.
The organisation's capacity-building programs and technical assistance are empowering local businesses to meet international standards, enhancing their competitiveness, and opening new opportunities for growth.
ARSO's dedication to the acceleration and implementation of the AfCFTA is commendable. The organisation's focus on "One Standard-One Test-One Certificate-Accepted Everywhere" highlights the importance of eliminating trade barriers and streamlining processes for businesses operating across Africa.
Through its collaborative efforts with African national standardisation bodies, ARSO is playing a pivotal role in creating a conducive environment for intra-African trade.
While challenges remain on the path towards realising the full potential of the AfCFTA, it is essential to recognise the progress being made and the active role played by standardisation bodies like KEBS.
Their efforts are not only laying the foundation for increased intra-African trade but also contributing to the harmonisation of standards, the facilitation of trade processes, and the creation of a more integrated African market.
As Africa embraces the AfCFTA and endeavors to transform the lives of its people, the proactive measures taken by standardisation bodies are crucial.
By focusing on tangible solutions and concrete actions, KEBS, and other stakeholders are driving the continent towards a brighter future. It is through these collective efforts, grounded in collaboration, harmonisation, and the commitment to success, that we will unleash the true power of the AfCFTA and pave the way for a prosperous and integrated Africa.
The AfCFTA is not just a trade agreement; it is a transformative force that can shape Africa's destiny. By connecting the AfCFTA with Agenda 2063, we align our efforts toward a common vision of a prosperous and integrated Africa.
Let us seize this historic opportunity, empowered by harmonised standards, sustainable practices, and digital innovation, to create a brighter future for all Africans.
The stage is set, and the time is now. Together, let us continue to support the endeavors of standardisation bodies in the continent as they work towards a common vision of a vibrant and interconnected African market.
By leveraging the power of harmonised standards, we will accelerate the implementation of the AfCFTA, promote intra-African trade, and create sustainable growth and development across the continent.
Esther Ngari is the Ag MD Kenya Bureau of Standards