ARSO and ITC Renew Partnership to Promote ‘Made in Africa’ Label and Boost Trade Under AfCFTA
The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have renewed their commitment to working together to establish a ‘Made in Africa’ label and boost trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed for a five-year period, ending in 2028, and will be focused on promoting regional standards in AfCFTA priority sectors and the Eco Mark Africa ecolabel.
The updated cooperation framework reflects developments in Africa’s regional integration efforts, underpinned by the AfCFTA, and a growing global shift towards the use of sustainability standards to demonstrate commitment to good environmental, social, ethical and food safety practices.
The two organizations will also work together to align National Quality Policies with the Africa Quality Policy, and provide tailored training sessions for small businesses, including those led by women and young entrepreneurs.
ARSO Secretary General, Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, noted that the MOU will generate greater commitment between the organizations and boost intra-Africa trade, particularly through diversified production of value-added industrial products, across all priority sectors of Africa’s economy. Meanwhile, ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton highlighted the role of stronger collaboration between the two organizations to strengthen regional integration and industrialization, building on improved quality infrastructure systems. Quality infrastructure services from ARSO enable AfCFTA State Parties to meet AfCFTA requirements.
The MOU will help drive the establishment of a Made in Africa label to further promote intra-African trade, economic growth, and development. It builds on the good work already done to support small businesses, and by establishing a continental platform of quality associations, it will support the harmonization of standards and reduce barriers to trade under the AfCFTA. ARSO and ITC will also collaborate on the design of a branding and marketing strategy to support the wide adoption of the Made in Africa label, and to support Rwanda and Somalia in adopting the Africa Quality Policy for their national contexts.
For the most part, the ARSO and ITC partnership will accelerate standardization activities to increase the competitiveness of African enterprises, strengthen regional value chains, and pave the way for Made in Africa goods and services. With the renewed commitment of the two organizations, the continent is poised for greater intra-Africa trade and economic prosperity.