Accreditation is defined as the process of providing recognition to an organization for its competence in performing specific conformity assessment tasks. Conformity assessment tasks include testing, certification and inspection. Internationally agreed standards and accreditation play a key role in support of competitive markets and cross border trade. This is increasingly important as supply chains are ever extending to new markets as businesses seek to lower costs or satisfy contract terms whilst maintaining a level of confidence that the products comply with specifications and are safe. In pursuit of economic improvement and further regional integration among its Member States, SADC launched its own accreditation body, the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service (SADCAS).
The Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service was established in terms of the Standardisation Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Meteorology (SQAM) Memorandum Of Understanding which has since been superseded by the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade.It is a multi-economy accreditation body incorporated in Botswana as a not for profit company limited by guarantee. A subsidiarity institution of SADC, SADCAS is responsible for the accreditation of laboratories, certification bodies and inspection bodies to international standards.
As emerging markets increase their level of international trade, accreditation is key to assuring the quality and enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s goods and services, and protecting consumers and the environment. In particular, the following sectors benefit greatly from accreditation:
- Industry and trade – Accreditation removes the need for repetitive testing, certification, and inspection, in turn facilitating trade.
- Regulators – Accreditation offers a reliable and impartial basis for decision-making.
- Conformity assessment service providers – Accreditation demonstrates competency to clients.
- Users of accredited services – Accreditation guarantees reliable international standards of conformity.
SADCAS provides affordable accreditation options for Member States without national accreditation infrastructures to compete on an international scale.
To be a credible accreditation body at the cutting edge of accreditation service delivery.
To provide credible, cost effective, accreditation services for SADC Member States aimed at supporting trade, enhance the protection of consumers and the environment, and improve the competitiveness of SADC products and services in both the voluntary and regulatory areas.
SADCAS objectives are to:
- Provide accreditation services to SADC Member States that do not have a national accreditation body for their laboratories, certification and inspection bodies;
- Provide accreditation services to Member Stateswhose national accreditation body only services a limited scope of accreditation;
- Provide international recognition of conformity assessment results produced by organisations accredited by it;
- Provide accreditation service that promotes, develops and maintains good regulatory practices;
- Provide an opportunity for SADC Member States to participate in multilateral arrangements for recognition of conformity assessment results;
- Provide a database of organizations accredited by it;
- Provide accreditation expertise, qualifying, registering and using experts from amongst SADC Member States; and
- Facilitate a national accreditation focal point (NAFP) for those SADC Member States using its service.
For more information, visit the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service website.