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.
About SADC and SADCSTAN