Accra, Feb. 24, GNA - Mr Alan Kyeremanten, Minister of Trade and Industry, on Thursday urged African countries to participate actively in international forum on standardization to influence future standard requirements and ensure that they did not become barriers to exports from Africa.
He said issues of standardization were important to the Continent's growth and poverty reduction agenda since it was only through it that Africa could take advantage of opportunities in the global market if goods and services met applicable external standards.
Mr Kyeremanten was speaking at the opening of the 13th Africa Regional Standards Organisation (ARSO) General Assembly in Accra on Thursday.
The Vice-President Aliu Mahama formally opened the Assembly, which is on the theme: "Standardisation and Poverty Alleviation in Africa." ARSO is a Regional Federation of National Standards Bodies in Africa with a membership of 25.
It has the mandate to promote standardization activities in Africa for the benefit of member states as well as to remove technical barriers that hindered intra-Africa trade and integration. Mr Kyeremanten said for African countries to be able to influence decisions they ought to strive to adopt a common and collective approach on standardization.
"Even in our own domestic markets, our local manufacturers can only compete with imported merchandise, if they maintain internationally competitive standards of production," the Minister said. Mr Kyeremanten said the application of such standards did not necessarily add to the cost of goods and services to both the consumers and producers.
In this connection, he said, Ghana would foster close collaboration with other standards organizations in Africa to enhance the country's socio-economic development.
Ambassador Magaji Mohammed, Nigerian Minister of Industry, said integration of ARSO programmes in the Africa Union would strengthen standardization in member countries.
He said entrepreneurs and businesspersons should participate in forums on standardization to enable them to better understand the process.