Congratulations are in order for our partners in Southern Africa. On 23 March 2023, the Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation Mutual Recognition Arrangement (SADCA MRA) was accepted as a recognized Regional Accreditation Cooperation. This official recognition was given by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) MRA for the accreditation of calibration and testing laboratories using ISO/IEC 17025. SADCA reported on this event in a press release. In its statement, the organization also expressed its deepest appreciation to the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) that has been supporting the regional QI networks in Southern Africa for many years. PTB’s work is taking place in the framework of German development cooperation and is financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Its support has taken the form of training courses, studies, and expert assignments. SADCA’s international recognition is one of the output indicators of its current project with PTB, and we are pleased to see that this has now been fulfilled.
SADCA furthermore received confirmation that it was accepted as a recognized Regional Group by the International Accreditation Forum Multilateral Arrangement (IAF MLA). This applies to the accreditation of Management System Certification Bodies using ISO/IEC 17021-1 for Quality Management Systems.
“Accredited once, accepted everywhere”
It took many years of preparation and a rigorous joint IAF/ILAC initial evaluation of SADCA for these recognitions to be granted. The process started in August 2021 with the evaluation of the SADCA Secretariat. This was followed by an observation of a SADCA evaluation of an Accreditation Body, and it ended in November 2022 with an observation of the SADCA MRA Council’s decision-making processes. The result was the endorsement of recommendations regarding the recognition of SADCA by the IAF MLA Committee and the ILAC Arrangement Council.
Achieving this key strategic milestone supports industrialization and facilitates regional and international trade by promoting confidence in accredited results. In addition, the global acceptance of accredited results eliminates the need for re-testing, re-calibration, and re-certification, thus reducing technical barriers to trade and promoting the competitiveness of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC’s) goods and services at an international level. It also supports the realization of the free-trade goal of “accredited once, accepted everywhere”.
The international recognition of SADCA aligns with the strategic intent of the SADC’s Industrialization Strategy and Plan. This document sets out SADC’s 50-year development plans for the period from 2017 until 2063. With this recognition, SADCA looks forward to advancing SADC’s trade both intra-regionally and globally. SADCA is a cooperation of accreditation bodies in the SADC region and a Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Cooperation Structure established under the TBT Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade.
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