Policy Framework

COMESA implements the Standards, Quality Assurance and Metrology (SQAM) programme, which aims at promoting development of a functional and internationally recognized regional quality infrastructure in the COMESA Member States. The COMESA SQAM programme is enshrined under Chapter 15 of the COMESA Treaty, under which Member States recognised the importance of standardisation and quality assurance in the promotion of health, enhancement of the standard of living, rationalisation and reduction of unnecessary variety of products, facilitation of inter-changeability of products, promotion of trade, consumer protection, creation of savings in government purchasing, improved productivity, facilitation of information exchange as well as in the protection of life, property, and the environment.

Further policy framework is provided through the COMESA Policy on standards, metrology conformity assessment and accreditation, which aims at promoting a common approach to standards development, metrology, testing, certification, inspection, accreditation and implementation of standards in both the private and public domain. The objective of the policy is to ensure the adequacy of the concomitant quality system infrastructure at national level, in order to facilitate trade, industrial development, protect the health and safety of society and the environment in the COMESA Member States. Member States adopted the strategic plan that takes into account the common challenges facing Member States in Quality Infrastructure (QI) to meet the requirements of the Customs Union. The priority accorded to the activities is guided by the needs of the Member States, and their capacities to adopt domestic polices and implement agreed activities.

Programme Description

The SQAM activities are currently guided by the Five-Year Strategic Plan (2015-2020) which provides a framework to guide the implementation of the Policy and includes activities for Quality Infrastructure, specifically covering Standards Harmonization, Industrial/Scientific Metrology and Legal Metrology, Conformity Assessment, Accreditation, Technical Regulations and Pharmaceutical Harmonization.

RISM supported activities have encompassed the following:

  1. Support towards adoption and domestication of COMESA Harmonised Standards (CHS)
  2. Support towards strengthening of laboratory infrastructure
  • Capacity building on SQAM (standards, metrology, certification)
  1. Sensitisation/Awareness activities on standardisation
  2. Procurement of laboratory equipment
  3. Procurement of mobile testing laboratories and mobile metrology (measurement) laboratories (mobile provers)

The adoption and domestication of the harmonized standards covers both COMESA and EAC standards. Each Member State is required to set a target for the number of harmonized standards it aims to adopt though publication, gazetting or otherwise approves in line with country-specific processes. Achievement of the indicator is then measured as the number of standards actually adopted against the target in the given year.

Performance Assessment against Targets