'Made in Africa' label being designed to boost African trade under AfCFTA

Thu 4 May 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Continent of Africa in digital project coming out of phone

A new ‘Made in Africa’ label is being designed to boost intra-African trade.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Nairobi-based African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) to contribute to efforts to establish the label, the ITC has announced.

It is hoped that the mark will support efforts to boost trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).


AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area, connecting 1.3bn people across 54 countries. It has a combined gross domestic product valued at US$3.4tr.

The UK has previously pledged £35bn in government support for AfCFTA and the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has partnered with several organisations in Africa – including ITC – to help deliver trade capacity building programmes to help governments maximise the opportunities the development of the trade area will create.

Raising standards

IOE&IT trade consultant Sylivia Nalwanga has said the ITC-ARSO MOU is a positive development for African trade, saying it contributes to efforts, underpinned by AfCFTA, to boost intra-African trade.

“A lot of work is underway to grow intra-African trade and the introduction of new standards will help businesses to demonstrate the quality of their goods to international buyers both within and outside of Africa.

“The IOE&IT supports this and will continue to play its part in helping African governments and businesses to make the most of the opportunities of AfCFTA through training, qualifications and digital initiatives like the Trade Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP).”

TLIP is a digital trade corridor that has been developed for goods moving between the UK and Kenya by TradeMark Africa and the IOE&IT.

In partnership with ITC, the IOE&IT also delivers a Level 3 Certificate and a Level 4 Diploma in International Trade in African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


The ITC-ARSO MOU renews the organisations’ working partnership for a five further years until 2028.

According to the African Union’s (AU) AfCTA website, the new agreement updates this relationship to reflect a “growing global shift towards the use of sustainability standards to demonstrate commitment to good environmental, social, ethical and food safety practices”.

ARSO and ITC will collaborate on the design of the Made in Africa label, as well as a marketing strategy to ensure there is a wide adoption of it. The organisations will also seek to promote the Eco Mark Africa ecolabel, which certifies a product’s sustainability.


Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, ARSO secretary general Dr Hermogene Nsengimana said the agreement will “accelerate standardisation activities to increase the competitiveness of African enterprises” and “pave the way for Made in Africa goods and services”.

ITC executive director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said the partnership will “support the harmonisation of standards and reduce barriers to trade under the AfCFTA.”