The Director General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Professor Alex Dodoo, has been sworn into office as president of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) at the 28th General Assembly of the continental standards body in Yaounde, Cameroon, yesterday June 30.
Prof. Dodoo takes over from Charles Booto a Ngon – head of the Cameroon national standards body – for the term 2022-2025. 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.
Prof. Dodoo won the bid to lead the organisation after an election at the 26th ARSO Hybrid General Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda, in June last year. ARSO’s 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 act as a standardisation forum for future prospects in international trade referencing.
In his acceptance speech, Prof. Dodoo said the agenda for his presidency is 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 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 said every action and activity under his leadership will be in line with four broad strategies: including the sustainability of ARSO; its financial stability; development; and expansion. They will also include boosting intra-African trade through industrialisation, use of standards, mutual recognition arrangements and any other means that allow Africans to trade with one another within the continent, he added.
Equally, he said, his focus will 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 COVID-19 era 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 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 has helped with building trust in the quality of the country’s products and services,” the letter stated.