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STANDARDS ASSOCIATION OF ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe Country Paper for the ISO/TC Workshop on Linking Trade Promotion
Organizations and National Standards Bodies for Export Success (21 23 June
2011, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania)
(by Romana Marunda)

1. The Role, Structure and Scope of the Standards Association of Zimbabwe


(SAZ)
1.1 Brief Introduction
The Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) is the national standards body of
Zimbabwe. Formed in 1957 and incorporated in 1960, the Association is a nongovernmental and non-profit making organization operating under the Zimbabwes
Companies Act with Articles and Memorandum of Association. A General Council
which oversees the affairs of the organization consists of 56 representatives of
government, local authorities, professional and academic institutions, industry and
commerce governs the Association. The General Council determines the overall policy
of the Association. Whilst the SAZ derives its income from certification and registration
activities, laboratory testing and calibration fees, training and sale of publications, it also
has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Zimbabwe
(GoZ) represented by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Government collects a
Standards Development Levy Fund (SDLF) from specified employers through the
Ministry of Industry and Commerce from which SAZ derives about 30% of its income.
1.2 Functions/Structure
1.2.1

Standards Development
The core function of SAZ is the facilitation of the development of national standards
in consultation with relevant stakeholders. As at April 2011, 1707 standards have
been published.
In 1996 SAZ signed the WTO/TBT (Annex 3) Code of Good Practice for the
Preparation, Adoption and Application of standards and is guided by the codes
principles in its standardization activities.
SAZ represents Zimbabwe in ISO, IEC Country Affiliate Programme, SADCSTAN
and Comesa Standards Harmonization Committee and actively participates in these
organizations standardization programmes. Increasingly international and regional
standards are adopted as national standards to ensure national standards do not

conflict with those of regional and international trade partners. 24% of standards
published in 2010 were ISO standards adoptions.
1.2.2

Standards Based Training Programmes


To promote an understanding of standards requirements, SAZ offers standards based
training programmes for organizations implementing specific standards e.g. ISO
9001, OHSAS , HACCP, ISO 14001, ISO 10002, ISO/IEC 17025. The courses
covers, awareness, implementation and internal auditing.

1.2.3

Inspection and Testing


SAZ avails to producers and consumers laboratory facilities for testing of
manufactured goods and raw materials to demonstrate their compliance with
standards. We also offer inspection services.
We are currently working towards accreditation of the testing and inspection services
to ISO 17025 and ISO 17020 respectively.

1.2.4

Certification
We operate a product certification scheme under which goods produced under proper
control are licensed as in compliance with appropriate standards and carry the SAZ
mark of approval. There are currently 320 products on the scheme.
SAZ also offers management system certification schemes to quality (ISO 9001) and
environmental (ISO 14001) standards. Both these schemes are accredited by the
Southern Africa National Accreditation System (SANAS). Future accreditation will
be through the recently launched Southern African Development Community
Accreditation System (SADCAS). Other certification schemes are OH & S (OHSAS
18001), FSMS (ISO 22000) and HACCP. As at April, the number of companies
certified were as follows: QMS (90); EMS (11); OHSAS (8); FSMS (3) and HACCP
(1).
Testing and certification schemes are mostly demanded by exporters.

1.2.5

Information Services
We offer information services on national, foreign national and international
standards. An annual catalogue of national standards is published and specific subject
listings and promotional fliers are widely disseminated. Customer standards holdings
lists are updated upon request. A selective dissemination of information services is
offered which matches customer standards information profiles with appropriate
standards.

In 2010, 57% of enquiries were from the private sector, 34% from SAZ staff; 6%
from public sector 2% from academia and 1% from foreign customers.
1.2.6

WTO/TBT Enquiry Point

The Zimbabwe Government signed the WTO/TBT Agreement in 1995 and as required
by the Agreement designated the SAZ as the WTO/TBT Enquiry Point for standards and
conformity assessment information.
WTO/TBT notifications are received from the WTO/TBT Secretariat. A circular of the
relevant ones being notified by trading partners is compiled and circulated.
1.3 Priority Sectors
Zimbabwes economy is gradually picking up following several economic challenges.
Growth potential is in the tourism, mining, agricultural and industrial (value addition)
sector, as the country resuscitates its economy.
SAZ is targeting all these sectors to ensure it plays a meaningful role in the economic
revival . Non sector specific services are in the various certification schemes.
1.4 Gaps in service delivery
Zimbabwes exporters face inadequate infrastructural services e.g electricity and water
shortages, unreliable telecommunication, and limited, expensive financial support.
SAZ constraints in its service delivery include lack of adequate technical equipment, lack
of adequate expertise in new areas, (e.g SR), weak link of standards and the technical
regulatory framework, certification not tied to product/service conformance to product
standards
1.5 Strategic Vision
SAZ has launched a Strategic Plan (2010-2014) document with 10 strategic policies but
its link to national development is weak. The 10 strategic policies that SAZ has to pursue
are:

Ensure capitalization of US$1.3 million by 2014.


Ensure adequate competent and motivated staff
Improve corporate image, publicity and visibility
Improve operational efficiencies
Grow sales volume to US$3.2 million per annum by 2014
Wider product range
Ensure implementation of plans
3

Ensure beneficial and sustainable strategic alliances and partnerships


Improve working capital position

SAZ is currently lobbying government to give it designated powers as an import/export


quality control agent.
SAZ will continue to enhance its regional and international linkages.
2. The Existing Relationship between NSB and TPO
2.1 To what extend is role of NSB understood by the TPO and Exporters
Role of NSBs is well understood by the TPO as we work closely with the national TPO,
Zimtrade. The TPO is represented in the SAZ General Council which determines the
overall policy of the Association.
Exporters understanding of the role of SAZ exists but it could be strengthened further
especially in the SMEs sector.
2.2 Relationship with the TPO

Apart from being in the General Council, Zimtrade sits on the Services and
Systems Management Standards Council which among other functions approves
standards projects for that area. Nominations to technical committees work are
also requested from Zimtrade.

Zimtrades quality management system was certified by SAZ.

Both organizations sit on various intergovernmental committees which in future


will include the National Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee which
was recently launched.

Information sharing. Zimtrade are on the SAZ mailing list and receive the
WTO/TBT notifications circular and the standards work programme. Both
websites are interlinked.

Capacity building. SAZ has been invited by the TPO to make presentations at its
various
foras.

There is no formal mechanism for coordination between the two organizations,


but this has not been a constraint in their cooperation.

There is need for a formal mechanism to maintain the relationship as well as to ensure that
coordination is really taking place. Relationship is currently on an adhoc basis.
2.3 Linkage constraints
Linkage exists but can be further enhanced. There are really no constraints in the linkage,
but if further strengthened it could enhance the SAZs capacity to improve its service
delivery, identifying new areas for standardization as well as new services required, and
avoid cases were exporters appeal for SAZs assistance when their exports have been
refused entry at border posts.
2.4 Relationship with other organizations
The SAZs General Council consists of 50 representatives of government, local
authorities, professional and academic institutions, industry and commerce. Some of the
members are Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, Business Council for Sustainable
Development Zimbabwe, Cement and Concrete Institute, Chamber of Mines,
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, Timber
Producers Federation. This General Council determines the overall policy of SAZ.
SAZ derives part of its funding from the Standards Development Levy Fund into which
specified employers contribute a percentage of their wage bill.
Various MoUs have been drawn up with strategic partners such as the Government of
Zimbabwe, local authorities, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), Zimtrade,
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and some foreign national standards bodies.
3. Potential future relationship with TPO
3.1 Sectors for Cooperation and Collaboration
Major guide should be those sectors Zimbabwe has a competitive advantage and growth
and value addition potential.
These sectors are tourism, mining, agricultural, products processing including food
manufacturing, textiles and footwear.
Collaboration areas
i)

Preparation and Dissemination of Information


Some information sharing is currently taking place but this can be enhanced by the
publication of joint promotional materials such as brochures and exporters alerts
circulars highlighting how the two organizations can enhance exports
competitiveness.

Information exchanged should serve a specific purpose e.g. final draft for comments
to the TPO for their wider circulation not just a global circulation of any information.
Organizations can also share customers databases.
ii) Capacity building and Advisory Service

Implement joint projects for donor funding in selected export niches to address
existing gaps in terms of quality
Joint subsidizing projects for SMEs to enhance the quality of their products.
Offer joint training for exporters

iii) Obtaining and demonstrating compliance


SAZ offers a wide range of certification scheme which exporters can use to
demonstrate compliance. Joint subsidized programmes can be put in place to assist
SMEs to implement standards so they can access the export market.
3.2 Overcoming current challenges
Challenges faced are not many as working relationship exist already. What is required is
an MoU as a mechanism to enhance further the existing relationship.
3.3 What value added could your organization offer to the TPO
-

Subsidiary programmes for SMEs with TPO


Increase joint representation in relevant organizations
Lobby for the TPO representation in the National TBT Committee and the SAZ
Technical Advisory Committee
Give TPO library a complimentary set of national standards to facilitate access by
their customers
Staff exchanges to strengthen information linkages e.g. Appointment of contract
persons for each organization.

3.4 Mechanism for effective cooperation and working relationship


Cooperation through an MoU could facilitate effective cooperation and more formal
relationship. A formal arrangement is the best as it will improve on the current ad hoc
way of cooperation.

Benefit to SAZ
More customers for its services
Close link of standardization programme with the national priorities will improve SAZs
relevance and credibility
Exporters information from TPO can assist SAZ in its service provision outreach

Provide Exports Quality Control inspections


More understanding of role of TPO

Benefits to TPO
Effective advisory service on conformity assessment information to exporters
More understanding on the role of NSB
Meaningful contribution to standardization programmes of the NSB to ensure its market
relevant.

Benefits to exporters
More coordinated and effective use of services offered by the NSB and TPO almost one
stop shop
Joint TPO/NSB partnership for donor funding to improve quality in identified sectors
Improve information access
Benefits to buyer/investor

i)

ii)

Guaranteed quality and safety of products


Increase consumer confidence in products
What are the needs to get
Endorsement by the Ministry
Both the NSB and TPO fall under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce
Resources
Both the NSB and Zimtrade benefit from funding established through legislation, i.e.
the Standards Development Levy Fund and the Trade Development Surcharge
respectively.
Conclusion
The NSB is already cooperating with the TPO as their services are complementary and
key to improving Zimbabwes exports and ensure sustainable growth in the economy.
New areas of partnership need to be developed to maximize on the existing linkages.
Further cooperation can be enhanced by a more formal approach through an MoU to
ensure a more systematic approach.