Title: Narrowing ISO certification gap in Africa

Authors: Tigineh Mersha

Addresses: Merrick School of Business, University of Baltimore, 1420 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21045, USA

Abstract: Recently, there has been increasing realisation that Africa|s immense untapped resources could soon be exploited to benefit its citizens as well as the world community. Africa comprises 10% of the world|s population, but its share in world trade is a minuscule 2.3%. At present, Africa is far behind other regions in the ISO certification race, and this so-called |standards divide| is seen as one of the major contributing factors for the continent|s poor performance in international trade. This paper identifies some of the barriers that impede African firms from obtaining ISO certification and proposes a set of strategies that can help narrow the current standardisation gap. In particular, the paper posits that a coordinated effort by industry and government leaders to boost ISO certification in Africa will help narrow the current gap and enable the continent to become a more active player in international trade.

Keywords: quality management; Africa; ISO 9000; developing countries; quality standards; quality certification; international trade; standards divide.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2007.011468

International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 2007 Vol.2 No.1, pp.65 - 80

Published online: 30 Nov 2006 *

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