AFRICA – Mrs. Maureen Mutasa has recently stepped down from her position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service (SADCAS), culminating her 14 years of service.
Present in 14 countries throughout Southern Africa, SADCAS guarantees the technical proficiency of service providers supplying calibration, testing, medical laboratory, and inspection and certification services.
Through this function, the organization plays a significant role in promoting commerce as well as the SADC bloc’s efforts to protect the environment, public safety, and health.
In June 2008, Mrs. Mutasa was chosen to lead the organization as its first CEO and was given a start-up grant from the Norwegian government.
Since then, she has worked tirelessly to elevate SADCAS to a position of prominence on a global scale.
At its inception, SADCAS was the first multi-economy accreditation body in the world, a model that has since been replicated in the Gulf, French-speaking West Africa and the Caribbean.
“It all started with the vision of a few of us in the SADC standards, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology structure believing that we can create this multi-economy accreditation body to service a number of the countries within the region, most of which did not and still do not have the capacity to do so alone,” Mrs. Mutasa said.
“Being the first is never easy. The first leg can often determine the destiny of an organization, and we experienced the ups and downs that all start-ups do, but I believe we have proved that the SADCAS model is a viable, cost effective and sustainable way of providing accreditation services to a number of countries,” she added.
During her pioneering tenure, SADCAS has received international recognition for six (6) of the eight (8) accreditation schemes it offers. It has issued 259 certificates to 209 accredited facilities in 13 of the 14 SADC Member States it services and two (2) non-SADC countries Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.
Dependency on Government funding reduced from 100% as at 31 March 2009 to 14% as at 31 March 2022 having prevailed through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic by swiftly adapting and migrating to remote assessments and online training, says SADCAS.
Wide scope of experience
Mrs. Mutasa has over the years made significant contributions to the development of accreditation infrastructure, not only in the SADC region but Africa as a whole.
With a wide range of managerial, agricultural research, and food sector experience spanning over 40 years, she retires as one of the finest experts on accreditation, standards, and quality assurance on the Continent.
Mrs. Mutasa has also served as Chair of the ISO Policy Committee of Developing Countries (ISO DEVCO), Vice Chair of the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) and Chair of the SADC Accreditation Cooperation (SADCA) and Chair of SADC Cooperation in Standardization.
She is currently the Chair of the AFRAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement a position which she will carry to the end of her term in September 2023.
On what comes next, the veteran said she plans to keep making contributions to the creation of high-quality infrastructure throughout Africa, with an emphasis on the accreditation pillar.
“It has been a long, but very fulfilling journey. I am delighted to say I leave SADCAS with so many happy memories and I am grateful for the many people that have contributed to my journey.
“As the Yoruba Proverb goes, “if we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us`,” Mrs. Mutasa said.