First UK government Standards Partnership Pilot to herald a new era for trade in Africa

8 November 2022

The first UK government-backed initiative to use global standards to support a new era for trade in Africa will officially be launched in Ghana today.

The Standards Partnership Pilot, which will be led by The British Standards Institution (BSI) in collaboration with and to support the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), is expected to boost trade opportunities between Ghanaian and UK businesses. It will focus on the strengthening of national quality infrastructure organizations and systems in complying with international recommended practices.

The pilot will also help deliver secondary benefits by enabling businesses to build resilient, diversified supply chains with high-quality products and services – resulting in greater choice and lower prices of goods for consumers.

The project is the first step towards the Standards Partnership programme – a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) funded initiative to unlock sustainable economic development by increasing the capacity of developing countries to use and comply with standards and regulatory measures – enabling them to access new markets and benefit from global supply chains.

The pilot will continue to help shape the UK government’s approach to the use of standards as tools to increase economic stability and support trade and development objectives.

Today’s launch is set to boost Ghana’s hopes of becoming a major business hub in Africa and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – a high-ambition trade agreement to significantly boost intra-Africa trade, with a focus on value-added production and trade across all sectors of Africa’s economy.

The pilot will be launched at an event later today hosted by BSI, together with the GSA, with speakers including Harriet Thompson, British High Commissioner for Ghana, Paul Whittingham, Deputy Director Trade for Development (FCDO/DIT) and the Hon. Michael Okyere Baafi MP, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.

David Bell, Director of Standards Policy at BSI, said:

“Complying with standards builds trust and confidence. Ghanaian organizations will benefit from that trust and confidence in being able to build resilience, accelerate progress and create prosperity for their country.

“We are immensely proud to be leading this pilot – building on the achievements of The Commonwealth Standards Network programme we delivered from 2018 to 2021. We look forward to continuing to support the FCDO and partnering with the GSA to enable future trade opportunities between the UK and Africa.”

Harriet Thompson, British High Commissioner to Ghana, said:

“This programme will help put Ghanaian businesses on the global stage. By adopting and working within international trading standards, this new partnership will build greater capacity in Ghana’s Standard Authority, and better position companies to export Ghanaian products to the UK.

“The launch of the UK-Ghana Standard Partnership Pilot is timely. With the roll out of the AfCTA and the implementation of the UK-Ghana Trade Partnership Agreement, quality standardisation will play a critical role in driving further trading opportunities between our two nations and beyond.”

Professor Alex Dodoo, President of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) and Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), said:

“We’re delighted to be launching the pilot today in Ghana and be spearheading the Standards Partnership, partnering with FCDO and BSI. It’s an exciting and pivotal time – using and adopting international standards will help transform our country and continent, and improve trade locally, regionally and also globally. The Standards Partnership Programme is one of the critical tools that will make our vision of Ghana Beyond Aid a reality.”

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Notes to editors:

The project is funded by the FCDO and delivered by BSI in partnership with and to support  GSA. The Standards Partnership Pilot Programme is being piloted first in Africa, in Ghana, and is set to finish in March 2023. It intends to test concepts and pave the way for a possible expanded project encompassing additional countries in the coming year.

The Standards Partnership Pilot Programme will:

  • facilitate the growth of export value chains in the target economies, with particular emphasis on providing necessary support for the National Quality Infrastructure against the background of the inception of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
  • increase the volume of products and services exported from these economies that meet international standards
  • create connections between countries (particularly National Standards Bodies and Ministries of Trade) allowing them to identify new trade opportunities
  • improve the business environment and create competitiveness
  • enhance the use of international standards to foster innovation and improve export potential

The pilot is the first step in the important Standards Partnership programme - which will be an integral part of The Centre of Expertise (CoE) for Economic Development and Trade from this year onwards. This CoE will soon be the primary vehicle through which technical expertise and policy advice will be channelled.

An agenda with speaker biographies for the launch event is available here:

About BSI

BSI is appointed by the UK Government as the National Standards Body and represents UK interests at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the European Standards Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI).  BSI traces its origins to 1901 and became the world’s first National Standards Body.  Its role is to help improve the quality, safety and integrity of products, services, and systems by facilitating the creation and maintenance of consensus-based, market-led standards and encouraging their use.  BSI publishes over 2,700 standards annually and withdraws over 1,500 old or superseded standards using a collaborative approach, engaging with industry experts, government bodies, trade associations, businesses of all sizes and consumers to develop standards that reflect good practice. To learn more about standards, please visit: and for the National Standards Body:

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