SADCSTAN committed to standards

Standards play an important role in the development of Southern Africa

By Aliyah Esmail

Standards are critical to all development efforts throughout the world. Part of the development process includes making standards a part of everyday life so that products that do not work, short out or cause fires will be phased out of the market and become increasingly less available. This will improve African industries’ access to global trade. When International Standards are not used, especially in the case of developing economies, trade and economic development can be hampered.

Fifteen Southern African states make up SADC

Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Standardization

SADC (Southern African Development Community) STAN (Cooperation in Standardization) is a part of SADC SQAM (Normalization, Quality, Accreditation and Metrology). SADC SQAM is the group coordinating the regional activities of SQAM, including SADCSTAN, the standardization branch of SADC, within a framework agreed by the Ministers of Trade and Industry of all SADC member states.

The group aims to promote regional cooperation in the development of harmonized standards and technical regulations, facilitate the exchange of information among members on existing and future standards and technical regulations, and facilitate the adoption of standards by the member states.

Paul Johnson, Executive Secretary of AFSEC (African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission) and Secretary of the IEC NC (National Committee) of South Africa, represented the IEC at the SADCSTAN meeting in Luanda, Angola, at the end of March.

Update on the Affiliate Country Programme

On behalf of the IEC, Johnson presented a message of support to all SADCSTAN members and told them about recent developments in the IEC Affiliate Country Programme. In particular delegates were told that there are now eight National Committees in Africa, including South Africa (currently the only Full Member of the IEC in the region).

Since the last SADCSTAN meeting in April 2012, IEC Affiliate Countries in the SADC region have received copies of 115 IEC International Standards to consider for national adoption.

Webinars used to move Affiliate Countries forward

Webinars were organized with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia to help activate the work of their NECs (national electrotechnical committees).

As the IEC works 100% in an electronic environment, one of webinar’s main objectives is to provide virtual trainings to IEC Affiliate Countries. The webinars help to support Affiliate Countries so that they can learn to use International Standards and benefit from what the IEC has to offer. The training is conducted by the IEC Affiliate Secretariat at the IEC Central Office in English or in French and can be requested by any Affiliate Country.

The way ahead

Over the next year, the objectives of SADCSTAN are to enhance participation by Angola, Lesotho and Madagascar; to request membership to the IEC for Namibia and Zambia; and to have Mauritius and Botswana have upgrade to Affiliate Plus.

In 2009, the IEC decided to offer a new status to developing countries that had reached the boundaries of the Affiliate Country Programme. The Affiliate Plus status provides 400 instead of 200 IEC International Standards for adoption free of charge and will give them priority in the forthcoming IEC Mentoring Programme for Affiliates.

southern_africa Fifteen Southern African states make up SADC
natural_tree_1600x1200 When International Standards are used trade and economic development can flourish
0971 Paul Johnson is the Secretary of the IEC NC of South Africa, and he represented the IEC at the SADCSTAN meetings