Gearing up for trade
Zambia's industry falls short of realizing its full export potential in global markets. A fundamental reason for this is that its national quality infrastructure and its technical regulation regime are not harmonized with those of its trading partners. Zambia needs to upgrade both. In particular, and of most immediate concern, it needs to formulate a national quality policy that can be integrated with a strengthened technical regulation regime.
Through this NORAD funded project the Zambian Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI) is assisted firstly, in reviewing the overall organizational framework relating to metrology, standards, accreditation, inspection, testing and certification, i.e. the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI), including the related legislation. Secondly, the upgrading of facilities of the NQI institutions such as, but not necessarily limited to, the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and the Zambia Weights and Measures Agency (ZWMA) under MCTI and the national testing laboratories to improve especially the food sector's ability to prove conformity and hence facilitate exports. Thirdly, the project will endeavour to strengthen the ability of selected sector enterprises to comply with international quality requirements creating a demand pull factor for the upgraded TBT and SPS compliance infrastructure.
- National Quality Policy and its Implementation Plan were approved by the Government of Zambia on 5 December 2010. The launching took place on 28th March 2011
- Draft NQI and TRF Legislation has been drafted and submitted to the Cabinet for approval. (Revised Standards Act; new Measurements Act; new Compulsory Specifications Act; new Technical Regulation Framework Act)
- Support has been provided to ZABS for development of a mobile Standards Information Unit/booth
- Testing and Metrology Equipment procurement for ZABS and ZWMA
- Support for laboratory accreditation for selected labs
- ZWMA has been supported to develop a business process mapping and subsequently a functional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
- Support has been provided towards the establishment of the Zambia laboratory Association, which will among other things, set-up and run national PT schemes
- First training session on the Global Food Safety Initiative's Global Markets Protocol carried out in April 2012 involving food producers and suppliers as well as key quality staff members of 2 major supermarket retailer groups. A core group of local recent graduates in Food Science/ Technology were also trained on the protocol and checklists in order to eventually provide local expertise. Second level session on gap analysis visits and mentoring of food suppliers was carried out in June 2012 with the group of trainees.
The project is expected to enhance the export performance of the Republic of Zambia by creating conditions for strengthening the national legislative framework supporting standards, technical regulations, metrology, testing and quality, addressing deficiencies in standards, testing, metrology and certification capabilities, while establishing a credible conformity assessment infrastructure and fostering integration into the multilateral trading system. Internal trade benefits to be accrued concomitantly.
For more information, please email:
Müge Dolun Bora