Angya’s book on product standardization and regulation in Africa

The book, Standardization and Quality Regulation in Africa: Institutions and Legal Frameworks by Dr. Paul Taveshima Mamnenge Angya, is first of its kind on the subject in Africa. The author undertakes the analysis of how standardization affects the economic and technological development of the African continent.

Angya’s analysis of the role of standards and standardization as engine room for industrial, economic and technological development of the continent and the application of same to both tangible and intangible products suitably introduces the subject of social responsibility and legal frameworks and all other related institutions, which form a platform of discourse. He leaves no doubts in the mind of the reader the subject of institutions and legal frameworks, of which many authors in this field had placed less emphasis.

The author also addresses the issues of the historical evolution of standardization and quality regulation in the continent of Africa and goes deep to define standardization, quality and regulation. Mindful of the fact that some basic concepts are central to the subject of discourse, the author further examines the practices of standardization and quality regulation at the levels of industry in both governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

Angya also does in-depth elaboration on the distinction and/or the correlation between standardization and quality regulation, including emphasis on quality infrastructures, consumer advocacy and participation. To the ordinary non-student of quality assurance, these matters have been so simply defined and exposed by the author to give easy understanding of the subject.

In ‘Institutions & Legal frameworks,’ the author focuses his attention on the in-depth discussion of selected National Bureau of Standards (NSBs) bodies and four institutions, and those that operate at regional and international levels. The author discusses their modus operandi and critically examines their interrelationships. Examples of such bodies as Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), The Kenyan Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and the African Regional Organization for Standardization (ARSO) and the International Organization for standardization (ISO) are mentioned while discussing their legal instruments of operations. The author clearly distinguishes the history and evolution of standardization in Africa different from the circumstances in Europe and other parts of the world. The successes and the challenges of the institutions are also outlined.

In ‘Impact of standardization in Africa,’ Angya focuses on the impact of standardization and quality regulation in Africa. The negative and positive impacts and benefits make important linkages to technical barriers on trade (TBT matters). The role of quality infrastructure is examined and amassed in detail. The author ends the chapter with a discussion of the benefits of standardization at international levels, particularly when considering trade facilitation, national and regional economic development and global integration.

Consumer Protection through standardization and quality regulation focuses on the role of standardization and quality regulation on the consumer, consumer protection and advocacy through standardization and quality regulation as an important subject for the health and other socio-economic aspects of humanity. Using his own national standards body, SON, the author outlines and discusses in very professional manner the national structures and their legal frameworks in order to institute national consumer protection. Examples such as SONCAP and MANCAP and their benefits to the national economy are enumerated.

Indeed, the terrain for African standardisation is still very tough and, even in the words of the author, “The path is difficult but only undertaking it with resolution and with the disposition to overcome the obstacles that are bound to emerge will allow the achievement of the desired goals for the development of the continent of Africa”. African legal frameworks must therefore be tuned to fit into the current global trend in order to shape their economies for better dividends of standardization.

In all, therefore, the author’s effort in Standardization and Quality Regulation in Africa: Institutions and Legal Frameworks must be commended in addition to not just legal but economic development literature. There is no reservation whatsoever in recommending the book to all
lovers of the economic development of Africa.

* Dr. John Ndanusa Akanya is a former Director General Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON)

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