ZAMBIA – In a move poised to ease trade within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) has embarked on a mission to synchronize standards and conformity assessment procedures across national borders.

This strategic initiative, aimed at smoothing out the inconsistencies that often hamper cross-border commerce, signifies a bold step towards a more integrated and prosperous African economy.

Under the stewardship of Executive Director Nathan Sing’ambwa, ZABS has not only envisioned but actively pursued the creation of a seamless trading environment within the SADC.

The recent declaration by Sing’ambwa during his engagement with Limestone Resources Limited in Ndola underlines the bureau’s commitment to eliminating Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) by aligning product and service standards to international benchmarks.

The journey towards this ambitious goal has seen ZABS forging strategic Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with counterpart standard bodies in South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and others, with ongoing talks with Malawi and Mozambique through the NACALA Corridor Project.

These agreements ensure that once a product is tested and certified in one country, its credentials are recognized across the board, mitigating the need for costly and time-consuming retests.

One of the critical milestones in this journey is the revision of standards for agricultural lime, alongside those for industrial and domestic use, to match international best practices. This move not only promises to enhance the quality and safety of these products but also represents a significant stride towards regional consistency and the facilitation of trade.

Cementing relationships with South Africa

Highlighting the importance of bilateral engagements, ZABS and the South Africa Bureau of Standards Commercial (SABS Commercial) have recently inked an MoU that sets the stage for increased trade flows between Zambia and South Africa.

This partnership is built on a mutual commitment to quality and standardization, embodying the spirit of the SADC Protocol on Trade, which advocates for the harmonization of standards and conformity assessments across the region.

The MoU encompasses cooperation in various domains, including conformity assessment and accreditation, with both parties agreeing to recognize each other’s certification marks and to engage in regional and international proficiency testing schemes.

This is not just a technical agreement but a foundation for economic integration and development within the SADC region, promising to bring tangible benefits to the industries and populations of the member states.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.