The SADC Secretariat’s Trade and Industry, Finance and Investment Directorate (TIFI) through the Standardisation, Quality Assurance Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) SQAM Unit hosted the 29th SADC SQAM Annual meetings for 2014 in Gaborone, Botswana on March 17-21, 2014.
The SADC Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Cooperation Structures meet annually for review and progress monitoring of work programmes.
The annual SQAM meetings were attended by 120 experts from Standardisation, Quality Assurance Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) Institutions from the SADC Member States and international institutions. The 29th annual SADC SQAM meeting was held in Gaborone Botswana from 17-21 March 17-21, 2014.
A total of thirteen (13) Member States attended the meeting with an exception on Seychelles. In attendance also were also international cooperating partners including German Metrology Institute (PTB), European Union, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-Southern Africa Trade Hub. Representatives of International Quality Infrastructure Institutions such International Organisation for Legal Metrology (OIML), African Standardsation Organisation (ARSO), and International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) were also in attendance.
The TBT Cooperation Structures according to the TBT Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade include SADC Cooperation in Standardisation (SADCSTAN), SADC Technical Regulations Liaison Committee (SADCTRLC), SADC TBT Stakeholders Committee (SADCTBTSC), SADC Cooperation in Accreditation (SADCA), SADC Cooperation in Measurement Traceability (SADCMET) and SADC Cooperation in Legal Metrology (SADCMEL). The SADC Accreditation Services (SADCAS) also held its annual general meeting during this week.
Zambia becomes the new SADCSTAN Secretariat The highlight of the week was Zambia becoming the new SADCSTAN Secretariat. At its 17th SADCSTAN Annual General Meeting that was held on the 19th March 19, 2014, the SADCSTAN Secretariat informed the meeting that the tenure of Ooffice for South Africa as Secretariat had come to an end and that Zambia through Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), an ordinary member of the SADCSTAN Executive Committee had expressed interest to host the Secretariat for the next three years. According to the TBT Annex, the Secretariat of the TBT Cooperation Structures are held by Member States if they wish to and have the capacity. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) overwhelmingly supported this interest and Zambia was confirmed as the new SADCSTAN Secretariat in March 2014.
The ZABS Director Mr. Manuel Mutale was part of the AGM and was accorded an opportunity to make in his acceptance a statement of acceptance onf the new role that Zambia had assumed, . In his acceptance speech Mr. Mutale he paid tribute to South Africa and the South Africa Bureau of Standards (SABS) for holding the SADCSTAN Secretariat since the Structure came into operation and for the special role during the formative period. He further stated that whilst acceptance at Country and Institutional level was important, the success of running a secretariat was dependedant on capable and committed staff to carry out the coordination activities and in that regard he also paid tribute to the outgoing Regional Coordinator Mr. Lindo Mlaba and his assistant Ms. Dineo Seroba for their dedication to the work of the SADCSTAN Secretariat during the tenure of South Africa. Mr. Mutale mentioned to the AGM that Zambia through ZABS had been motivated to take up the role of SADCSTAN Secretariat in order to make a contribution from the experience gained in participating in SQAM matters over the years. He assured the AGM that the Zambian Government through the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry recogniszed the important role that SQAM functions and Structures played in economic development and integration and was in full support of the role that ZABS would have in SADCSTAN as its Secretariat. Mr. Mutale said that ZABS would look up to South Africa as the predecessor for guidance on how to effectively run the regional Regional secretariatSecretariat. The ZABS Director also informed the AGM that Mrs. Margaret Lwenje Lungu the Standards Manager at ZABS, Mrs. Margaret Lwenje Lungu would be the Regional Coordinator.