CEN and CENELEC will participate to a webinar on the Role of Standards in implementing Free Trade in Africa


On 15 February 2021, CEN and CENELEC will participate to the webinar “Africa Trading with Itself: Role of Standards and Technical Regulations in actualising Free Trade under the AfCFTA". The webinar, organised by ARSO – the African Organisation for Standardization, will highlight the various opportunities presented by the AfCFTA tools to address the existing Technical Barriers to Trade in Africa.

CEN and CENELEC, in cooperation with the African regional standardization organizations (ARSO and AFSEC), will present how standards underpins the functioning of the European Single Market.  In particular, they will provide their expertise during a panel on “Operating the Single European Market: Cooperation under the New Standardization Approach of 1985 and the EU legislations: Lessons from the EU and the CEN-CENELEC”.


This webinar comes in the context of the implementation of free trade in Africa: the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) started implementation on 1 January 2021. Furthermore, the Africa Agenda 2063’s first aspiration is for “A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development”.  A fundamental focus of efforts is put on the challenges which face the African continent, including Technical Barriers to Trade, which have remained a major challenge to intra-African Trade.


With 35 countries having deposited their instruments of ratification of the 54 signed up (as of 15 January 2021), the AfCFTA is prioritising the production of value-added goods and services that are “Made in Africa”. It plans to achieve this objective through strengthened regional value chains, value additions, export diversification, manufacturing and industrialisation – which would increase intra-African trade from 15-16% today to 52.3% – through the elimination of import duties, and by reducing non-tariff barriers, especially the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) such as Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures and Accreditation, one of the bottlenecks in intra-African trade.


The AfCFTA Annex 6 (TBT) and Annex 7 (SPS) remain instrumental in spurring the opportunities for collaboration among African Standardization Stakeholders, African countries and with National Bureau of Standards, Regional Economic Communities (RECS) and Quality Infrastructure Systems to share and implement similar regulatory frameworks and the development of policies, legislations and regulations based on existing harmonised systems to achieve a harmonised technical regulatory framework for the operation of a Single African Common Market.


To register to the event, go to this link.



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