The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) has unanimously elected the Director General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Professor Alex Dodoo, as president of the continental standards body for the term 2022-2025.
Prof. Dodoo won the bid to lead the organisation after an election at the 26th ARSO Hybrid General Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda last Wednesday.
He becomes the second Ghanaian to lead the prestigious continental association, following in the footsteps of Dr Emmanuel K. Marfo, who was ARSO president from 1992-1994.
There was an election held online for non-council members.of the association.
The ARSO is Africa’s inter-governmental standards body formed by the then Organisation of African Unity (currently the African Union) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Accra, Ghana in 1977.
Its fundamental mandate is to develop tools for standards development and harmonisation and the implementation of these systems to enhance Africa’s internal trading capacity, increase its product and service competitiveness globally, uplift the welfare of African consumers, as well as standardisation forum for future prospects in international trade referencing.
In his post-election speech, Prof. Dodoo said the agenda for his presidency was to leverage the image and position of ARSO to change the narrative by expanding intra-African trade within the purview of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, with a focus on improving trade in Made-in Africa goods locally, regionally and globally.
“Having been appointed the ARSO Goodwill Ambassador to the AfCFTA Secretariat, I must admit the appropriateness of the time that Ghana takes up the mantle for the next Presidency to guide this great organisation through its fourth decade.
“This is especially so since the AfCFTA Secretariat is based in Accra, so there is opportunity to use proximity to the secretariat to further the aims of ARSO now that the AfCFTA is in its early stages,” he stated.
Prof. Dodoo explained that every action and activity under his leadership would be in line with four broad strategies, including the sustainability of ARSO, its financial stability, development and expansion.
They would also include boosting intra-African trade through industrialisation, use of standards, mutual recognition arrangements and any other means that would allow Africans to trade with one another within the continent, he added.
Equally, he said, his focus would be on deepening regional self-sufficiency by supporting governments to invest in and maintain a solid sustainable quality infrastructure for standards, measurement and testing, all based on a ‘Regional Quality Infrastructure Policy’.
“Highlighting African leadership in the post-COVID-19 trading economy, especially in areas of competitive advantage, such as the use of digital platforms for payment services and health delivery, M-PESA and Zipline come to mind,” he said, adding: “Africa can lead in digitisation.”
Prof. Dodoo paid glowing tribute to his predecessor, Mr Charles Booto a Ngon for steering the organisation well through the challenging pandemic period.
“Your distinct progressive agenda has made significant long-lasting contributions to this organisation and my determination is to consult widely on how to build on your legacy and uphold the highest aspirations of this notable organisation,” he said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration presented Prof. Dodoo to the ARSO Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya as Ghana’s nominee for the position of ARSO president in April this year.
Prof. Dodoo’s candidature was endorsed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in a letter to ARSO, in which the ministry said he had provided strong and remarkable leadership in the transformation of the GSA, culminating in its high visibility.
“He played a critical role in the National Standardisation and Accreditation Programmes which underpin Ghana’s quality infrastructure and have helped in building trust in the quality of products and services in the country,” the letter stated.