The British Standards Institution (BSI) has announced a new partnership with the UK Government designed to use international standards as a means of enhancing trade and sustainable growth in developing economies.
The Standards Partnership Programme is an initiative led by BSI in collaboration with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FDCO) which will be delivered in 11 countries and island regions (Bangladesh, the Caribbean, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Pacific Islands, Rwanda and Uganda). Among its goals are increased economic stability, job creation and poverty reduction – as well as increased trade opportunities for international business.
The programme follows a pilot scheme that was successfully rolled out in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda last year. It also supplements the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN) programme which was launched in 2018 and has now been extended for a third phase.
Scott Steedman, Director General, Standards, at BSI said: “BSI is delighted to be leading both these vital programmes, the Standards Partnership and the Commonwealth Standards Network. Together these have the potential to drive progress across society. Raising awareness and understanding of the value that comes from the use of international standards can bring benefits including helping to accelerate growth, attract inward investment and enhance trade.
“We look forward to continuing to partner with the FCDO and our Commonwealth members and other in-country stakeholders to strengthen economic stability and unlock future opportunities to benefit consumers, organisations and governments around the world.”
The UK Government has committed £3m to the Standards Partnership Programme, which will ‘use international standards as tools to support trade objectives and help to build resilient supply chains’. It also hopes to increase the volume of products and services that meet international standards and to enhance trade and investment opportunities by working with other National Standards Bodies and Ministries of Trade.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for the Commonwealth said: “The UK is committed to strengthening the Commonwealth, accelerating free trade and supporting democratic values across the globe.
“Today’s announcement of £3m will help increase the use of international standards in our trading relationships, not only for smaller countries, but for the benefit of all members of the Commonwealth family. This is a vital lever in boosting international trade across our thriving network.”
Professor Alex Dodoo, President of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) and Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), involved in the pilot, said: “The Standards Partnership pilot in Ghana has been pivotal to our continuing progress and so far, it has benefited GSA tremendously helping build our capacity. Our visibility has also expanded, and we are now attracting the right type of partners for development and service delivery.
“This impact is just the beginning and we look forward to doing much more – using international standards to facilitate trade and support building a world-class standards regime, that will transform our country and continent as we roll out the African single market.”