AFRICA – Professor Alex Dodoo has been elected as president of the 26th General Assembly of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO).

ARSO is Africa’s inter-governmental standards body formed by the then Organization 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 harmonization 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 standardization forum for future prospects in international trade referencing.

Professor Dodoo will succeed Booto à Ngon Charles when he steps down in June 2022, making him the second Ghanaian to lead the prestigious continental association after Dr Emmanuel K. Marfo, who was ARSO president from 1992-1994.

He emerged as the choice of all the member-states attributed to his vision to rapidly harmonize standards on the continent, while leveraging on the proximity of AfCFTA secretariat being in Accra to further the aims of ARSO.

In his speech after the win, Prof Dodoo expressed gratitude to member-states for the trust and confidence reposed in Ghana and his candidature.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to serve, having in mind the enormous task of supporting our respective governments in making the AfCFTA a success which is key to the continent post-covid recovery,” the president-elect said.

The Professor elucidated 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 industrialization, use of standards, mutual recognition arrangements and any other means that permit Africans to trade amongst themselves within the continent.

He also added that 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’.

The world body in-charge of standards, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) congratulated Ghana and Prof. Dodoo on the election victory, urging the ARSO president-elect to support member-states to strengthen their national quality infrastructure.

“We can only harmonize standards when we have robust national quality infrastructure,” ISO President Eddy Njoroge said in his congratulatory remarks.

The ARSO presidency is the latest leadership role Ghana has secured after Africa’s top gold producer was elected to the United Nations Security Council recently.

In a brief remark to the assembly, the Director-General of Standards Organization of Nigeria, Mallam Farouk Salim said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has magnified the need for standards to be regionally harmonized to promote intra-trade.

“It is only appropriate that Ghana takes up the presidency of ARSO at this time to drive the harmonization agenda,” the president-elect said.

The clinical scientist, who doubles as ARSO’s Goodwill Ambassador to the AfCFTA secretariat, will serve between 2022 and 2025.