SADC Director of Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment, Ms Boitumelo Gofhamodimo, signed off the final report of the project “Strengthening the quality infrastructure for trade enhancement and consumer protection in the SADC Region. The project was implemented between July 2010 and August 2013, but signing the final did not mean an end of the SADC-German cooperation in the domain of quality infrastructure. In September 2013 the German Government launched a follow up project based on the very promising evaluation results of the just ended project.
The new project is being implemented again through the German National Metrology Institute (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt, (PTB) which has been working in the area of quality infrastructure since the start of the German development assistance 50 years. PTB International Technical Cooperation department is operating world-wide to assist developing countries and countries in transition. The legal basis for SADC to form a Free Trade Agreement is the SADC Protocol on Trade. The “Technical Barriers to Trade Annex”, an annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade explicitly outlines a framework within which technical barriers to trade are dealt with in the SADC region.
The implementation of the TBT Annex, however poses great challenges to the Member States, as both the capacities and the competences within the scope PTB renews its Cooperation with SADCof the quality infrastructure are not yet sufficiently developed. SADC Member States, both at regional and national level, are, to a certain extent still not able to comply with the requirements of the regional economic integration and at the same time ensure consumer protection.
Consequently, the overall objective of the project is to strengthen the quality infrastructure for trade enhancement and consumer protection in SADC in accordance with the TBT Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade. The main components of intervention are (1) the enhancement of the capacity and competence of TIFI Directorate in the domain of Standards, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM)/Technical Barriers to Trade, (2) the strengthening of the SADC SQAM TBT structure and (3) the further improvement of the international reputation of SADC SQAM services.
The project will run until August 2016 with a commission value of 1,5 Million EURO and complements the TBT and SPs components of the EU funded Regional Economic Integration Support Programme.While visiting the SADC TIFI SQAM unit, the management team from PTB together with the SADC SQAM Programme had a look to the documentation of the past 20 years cooperation in SQAM, a long common history. Both sides expressed their appreciation and underlined the strong wish to continue the partnership.