RSB Hosts the Third ARSO Mutual Recognition Arrangement Meeting

RSB Hosts the Third ARSO Mutual Recognition Arrangement Meeting

TODAY 6th February 2023, at Kigali Marriott Hotel, Mr Richard Niwenshuti Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Trade and Industry opened the 3rd African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) meeting aimed to boost trade and fast-track implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The meeting brings together Senior Officials and technical staff from the six African countries, i.e. Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Rwanda who are piloting the MRA to ensure harmonization of standards and conformity assessment practices towards trade facilitation.

At the meeting opening, Mr Richard reminded participants that one of the key steps to promoting intra-Africa trade is eliminating technical barriers to trade, and the MRA is the best way to go to achieve it. He also noted that as countries are eager and ready to trade with each other, the Mutual Recognition framework will facilitate and speed up free movement of goods and services and thus boost cross-border trade on the continent.

Dr Hermogene Nsengimana, the Secretary General of the African Organization for Standardization recalled that the MRA aims to enable the 3 Cs (Compete, Conform and Connect) and is expected to enable safe products, protect environment and enable all countries to trade with each other through peer assessments.

Mr Raymond Murenzi-DG/RSB

Mr Raymond Murenzi, Director General of Rwanda Standards Board noted that National Standards Bodies across the continent have been putting in efforts to develop standards, harmonize standards and adopt international standards; and that time was ripe to come together and harmonize practices to facilitate trade. He added that t
he Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) will be the implementing tools for the realization of the continent’s standardization slogan: One Standard, One Test, One Certificate Accepted Everywhere!

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement was signed and ratified by African Countries including Rwanda, and is among the frameworks under the implementation process at continental level, creating export market opportunities to African Countries for local traders and export market opportunities; and Quality Infrastructure Institutions at continental and national level have been identified to play an important role to ensure that standards and conformity assessment procedures are harmonized to ensure free movement of goods and intra-Africa trade facilitation.

Group photo

In the 64th Council Meeting of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) held in Kigali from 14th to 15th June 2021, Rwanda urged ARSO Member States to champion Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) to facilitate the adoption of the standards to promote the implementation of the Af-CFTA Agreement and six countries, namely: Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ghana have since been championing the move, and have proposed various mechanisms to serve as the basis for mutual recognition of conformity assessment procedures.

Against the above background, Rwanda was offered to host the ARSO Mutual Recognition Arrangement meeting taking place at Kigali Marriot Hotel from 6th to10th February, 2023.

“RSB services are delivered in consideration of gender equality to ensure inclusive sustainable socio-economic development”