16.09.2006 Africa

African Electro-Technical Standardisation Commission To Be Established

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The African Electro-technical Standardisation Commission (AFSEC) will soon be established to support the development of electrical infrastructure in Africa.

The establishment of AFSEC would enable Africa to present a common front in the formulation of international electro-technical standards and to ensure their fitness for conditions that prevail on the continent.

Mr Paul Johnson, a representative of the Union of Producers, Transporters and Distributors of Electric Power in Africa (UPDEA), said this at a forum of stakeholders in Accra. He said the forum was to give the necessary guidance and assistance towards the formation of the national committee to set the pace for AFSEC to take off in Africa.

He said the infrastructure to co-operate on technical standards in Africa had either been missing or ineffective except in a few countries. "There has been little or no infrastructure established for standards to be reviewed and updated in line with accepted international practice."

"The resulting variations in technical standards across Africa are therefore a major stumbling block to sustainable and effective electrification network expansion and operations."

Mr Johnson said that technical standards were essential components of economic and infrastructure development and vital ingredients for sustainable electrification programmes in standardisation.

"Without successful and sustainable electrification, it will be very difficult to achieve both development and economic growth." He explained that a study conducted by the World Bank into successful and sustainable electrification projects had underscored the importance of reducing installation and operating costs.

"This can only be achieved with appropriate standardisation structures to ensure the application of standards to facilitate the harmonisation of standards for electrical appliances suitable for the African markets and ensure that where adoption of international standards is necessary, the specific requirements are harmonised at a Pan-African level."

Mr Johnson therefore stressed the need for stakeholders in electricity supply and related industries in Africa to co-operate in the effective use of standards to build the infrastructure.

Mr Adu Darkwa, Executive-Director of Ghana Standards Board (GSB), noted that the Board was the body responsible for the management of Ghana's quality infrastructure and represented the nation on several International and Regional Bodies such as the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) in the development of standards, promotion of standardisation and its related activities. He said Ghana had been an active participant in the IEC Affiliate programmes and as a result had adopted 179 IEC standards.

Mr Darkwa urged stakeholders to co-operate for the establishment of AFSEC, adding that its establishment would open avenues for African countries to move on to the IEC's Associate Programmes.

He expressed GSB's preparedness to host the secretariat of the National Electro-technical Committee and appealed to industry stakeholders to assist the Board with requisite logistics for the smooth implementation of the committee's programmes.

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