The American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) Standards Alliance program, a public-private partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), carried out four trainings in conjunction with Zambia's Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) in Livingstone and Lusaka, Zambia, during the week of September 23, 2019. The Standards Alliance conducted the trainings with Zambian regulatory agencies, public officials, and legal experts to outline the process, value, and importance of the institutionalization of Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) in Zambia.
RIA bridges the gap between the public and private sectors by allowing the government to assess the potential impact and effectiveness of newly developed regulations. In 2014, Zambian legislators established the BRRA, the country's first centralized regulatory review agency, to implement the government-wide regulatory review process, a requirement for all new regulations with an impact on business. The Standards Alliance has worked with BRRA to provide capacity-building assistance since May 2017; the September events were part of the fourth series of such trainings.
The first event spanned two days in Livingstone, Zambia, and focused on communicating the need and value of RIA, as well as best practices for building the skills necessary for government regulators to train employees to conduct and institutionalize the RIA process. The training featured presentations by distinguished experts in the field of RIA and workforce training, including Nathan Frey of RSS Group, Kees Jonkheer of Jonkheer Consulting, and Dr. Roy Swift of Workcred, an ANSI affiliate, who presented to an audience of more than 40 regulatory CEOs. The BRRA and Standards Alliance outlined next steps to best support the institutionalization of RIA in Zambia. The event culminated with regulatory leaders committing to nominate an individual to serve as a focal point for RIA information and to develop RIA action teams to improve regulatory coordination between the regulators and the BRRA.
The second event included a half-day sensitization training for the National Assembly of Zambia in the nation's capital, Lusaka, and attracted more than 45 members of Parliament. The Honorable Mwimba Henry Malama, the Second Deputy Speaker, in coordination with Mrs. Sharon Sichilongo, the CEO of BRRA, and ANSI led the opening session. Standards Alliance experts shared important background on the political, legal, practical, and economic value of RIA to garner political will for parliamentary support for the regulatory review process.
Experts from RSS Group, Jonkheer Consulting, and Workcred highlighted RIA's potential to attract foreign direct investment through enhanced regulatory transparency and market predictability. Speakers also emphasized the necessity for thorough training of regulators to optimize the regulatory decision-making process and support more precise and effective regulation in Zambia.
The third training in this series included a half-day session focused on the legal teams from regulatory agencies. The session provided an overview of the RIA process and value while emphasizing the role of the legal departments to support RIA implementation. The capacity-building training helped ensure that legal departments within Zambian regulatory agencies have a more complete understanding of the RIA process to support further, more in-depth training.
The Standards Alliance concluded its four-part training series with a half-day sensitization training for permanent secretaries from 19 Zambian ministries in Lusaka, Zambia. This training provided a brief overview of the legal underpinnings for RIA in Zambia, the value and use of RIA across the globe, and next steps to support the full function of the regulatory review process in Zambia.
Together, the four-part RIA training series helped support Zambia's efforts to institutionalize a holistic government approach to the regulatory review process. This set of activities built on the increasingly firm foundational work of the Standards Alliance and BRRA over the past 3 years. In total, more than 200 Zambian government officials have received RIA sensitization training, and more than 75 have participated in in-depth trainings to support RIA implementation. Through these trainings, the Standards Alliance is supporting a more predictable and transparent business environment that will increase U.S. market access and improve regulatory decision-making processes. The series provided Zambia with more knowledge and political will to continue to be a leader for regulatory review on the African continent.