International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

May 2012


Convergence of views

IEC has key role in Southern African countries

For several years now, the IEC has attended the annual meetings of SADCSTAN, the SADC (Southern African Development Community) Cooperation in Standardization. There are common denominators between the two organizations. All SADC countries are in the IEC family, either as participants in the Affiliate Country Programme or as Members of the IEC (South Africa). A convergence of views on issues such as the facilitation of trade through international standards and the elimination of technical obstacles to trade in compliance with the WTO (World Trade Organization), have reinforced dialogue and cooperation.

Update on IEC Affiliate Country Programme

Paul Johnson, Executive Secretary of AFSEC (African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission) and Secretary of the IEC NC (National Committee) of South Africa, represented the IEC at the SADCSTAN meeting held in Lilongwe, Malawi, on 22 March 2012.


On behalf of the IEC, Johnson presented a message of support to all SADCSTAN members, and told them about recent developments in the IEC Affiliate Country Programme. In particular delegates were informed of the nomination of the new Affiliate Leader, Phuntsho Wangdi, Director of BSB (Bhutan Standards Bureau), effective since June 2011. Some of the salient issues relevant to the SADC region were also highlighted.

Achieving Affiliate Plus status

Two countries, Malawi and Zambia, have achieved ‘Affiliate Plus’ status, and Mauritius should join them soon. The IEC created this status in 2009, for those developing countries which are already using the Programme to its fullest extent. Having 'Affiliate Plus' status provides a developing country with a greater number of IEC International Standards (400 instead of 200) free of charge for adoption as national standards in their own country. It also provides the country with the entitlement to receive special support and mentoring on a case-by-case basis to enable it to participate more fully in IEC technical work.


In addition, several SADC countries have already formally established their NEC (national electrotechnical committee), and are making good use of the Programme.

The way ahead

Delegates were also advised of the way forward as proposed by the Affiliate Secretariat. The objectives are to enhance participation of Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique and Swaziland; to have Angola, Namibia and Tanzania start adoption of IEC International Standards as national ones; and to see Botswana and Democratic Republic of Congo establish their NECs.




SADCC (Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference), the forerunner of SADC (Southern African Development Community), was established in April 1980 by governments of 9 Southern African countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


SADC has developed since then, to become an organization that has a Programme of Action, covering several broad economic and social sectors, namely, Energy, Tourism, Environment and Land Management, Water, Mining, Employment and Labour, Culture, Information and Sport, and Transport and Communications. Its goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African states: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which, together, comprise a population of nearly 260 million.


SADC is headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana.


SADCSTAN (SADC Cooperation in Standardization) recognizes that harmonization of standards and technical regulations within the community works towards facilitating trade and encouraging a freer flow of goods and services, boosting trade between SADC member states and ensuring that products that do not comply with SADC standards are kept out of the region.


SADCSTAN, together with SADCMEL (SADC Cooperation in Legal Metrology), SADCMET (SADC Cooperation in Measurement Traceability) and SADCA (SADC Cooperation in Accreditation), makes up SQAM (Standardization, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology), which is the SADC body responsible for coordinating all these activities, grouped under the umbrella of SQAMEG (SADC SQAM Expert Group).


  • Paul Johnson, AFSEC Executive Secretary and IEC South African NC Secretary, represented the IEC at the SADCSTAN meeting in Malawi
  • Fifteen southern African states are members of SADC
  • Since June 2011, Phuntsho Wangdi, Director of of BSB (Bhutan Standards Bureau), is the IEC Affiliate Leader



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