This is the first time in the history of the 70-year-old global body to have an African as its top most leader
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 2nd October 2018…Kenyan businessman Mr. Edward Njoroge is the President-elect of the global standards body – International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
The 65-year-old former KenGen CEO, was unanimously backed by the 162 member countries during the ISO General Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland. He will serve as the President for two years. His term effectively begins in January 2020 until December 2022.
Mr Njoroge’s nomination to the World Standards body was backed by Kenya through the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS). He replaces Canadian John Walter, who is the outgoing president.
The Makerere University-trained businessman currently serves as the Chairman of Telkom Kenya and was recently appointed as a non-executive director at the National Standards Council. Mr Njoroge is the former CEO of KenGen, and also the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). He vied for the ISO presidency position in 2016 during the 39th ISO General Assembly in Beijing, China and came second, missing it with a single vote.
Speaking from Geneva, Mr Njoroge said, “I accept this honour to be the first ISO president from Africa in its 70 years’ history, with profound gratitude and humility. ISO has made a loud statement today.”
The president-elect said he would seek to widen and deepen developing countries’ engagement with the ISO activities to enable the countries exploit the full value of international standardisation, particularly in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He further added that, as President, he would also garner greater support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which have a fundamental role in most economies and especially in the developing countries.
“MSMEs must be encouraged to use standards as a strategic tool, to strengthen their business and to support the harmonious development of markets and societies,” added Mr Njoroge.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Illicit trade recently estimated the shadow economy to be worth $650 billion with the latest figures on counterfeiting alone predicting an increase to $1.77 trillion.
Mr Njoroge, who was addressing the over 2,000 delegates attending the ISO General Assembly in Geneva, said the global threat of illicit trade is a “clear and present” problem.
“Attempts have been made at certain international organizations and international fora to tackle the problem. These efforts have been partial, fragmented and insufficient. The subject matter, surprisingly, has not been incorporated into – and is presently not on – International Standardization agenda. I hope during my tenure as President, we can all focus on strengthening the International standardization systems so that they use relevant international standards to improve transparency of cross-border procedures,” said Mr Njoroge.
ISO, which was formed in 1947 as an independent, non-governmental international organization, brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards. Countries are represented through national standards bodies.
ISO has published over 22,000 International Standards and related documents, covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare.