KENYA – Eddy Njoroge has officially taken over as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) President from his Canadian predecessor – John Walker.

The Kenyan born, 66-year-old trained chemist-cum-businessman is the first African to ascend to the apex of the global standards agency in more than 70 years. He is also a board member at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and a former Chairman.

“I am fully prepared and up to the task ahead of championing the use and benefits of standards in our everyday lives,” affirmed Njoroge when he rose to take over the baton at the inauguration ceremony held at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, South Africa.

He summarized his focus for the next two years – starting January 2020 – in a four-point agenda that includes redressing trade imbalance, using standards to power industrial growth, encouraging the use of standards in every aspect of people’s lives and enhancing participation of the developing countries in formulating standards.

“ISO Standards by themselves represent global unanimity, and by using them, technical barriers to trade are reduced, production costs are lowered, opportunities for economies of scale is achieved, and local companies access markets globally, thereby reinvigorating trade while ensuring inclusive growth.”

On his first attempt in 2016, he had rooted for an African to lead the global agency. He reiterated his assertion that he would be a champion of increased and deepened engagements by developing countries in ISO activities. This, he said, would help the nations exploit the full value of international standardization.

Njoroge served as the CEO of Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) where he not only spearheaded its transformation from a parastatal to a publicly listed company but significantly led KenGen to become the first Kenyan public body to be ISO 9001 certified in 2004.

He has a wide range of experience and expertise, ranging from energy, telecommunications, nature conservation, financial markets, banking and finance. Drawing from his local and international work background, he aims to facilitate access to standards for developing countries.

In his role as the new global standards ambassador, he intends to facilitate the substantial work of coordination, promotion, and advocacy that is carried out from Geneva.

His parting shot: “The world is evolving rapidly and for us to remain relevant, in the ever-changing world, we must understand the environment in which we operate in. We will continue with the programs that strengthen our system, while defining our priorities based on the external drivers of change that will ensure we remain relevant now, and years to come.”