The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), through its public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID), the Standards Alliance, recently organized a two-day workshop in Lusaka, Zambia. The workshop focused on further engagement between the U.S. and Zambia economies, and highlighted the importance of standards in supporting U.S. business investment and growing demand for quality products in the east African country.
During the March 13-14 event, a group of U.S. private-sector speakers provided workshop participants with presentations on the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, as well as standards-related topics in three priority sectors: infrastructure, energy, and agriculture.
Participants had the opportunity to share perspectives on the state of standards within each sector, an opportunity to learn more about the U.S. standards system, and to discuss collaboration between the U.S. and Zambia economies. Collectively, 64 participants attended the workshop, which featured U.S. speakers from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), ASTM International, Deytec Inc., the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), Tri-Environmental Inc., and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).
The workshop emphasized the importance of standards and quality in supporting U.S. business investment in Zambia, and highlighted the value of a stable and predictable regulatory environment for interested investors. Similarly, speakers emphasized the role of standards in supporting the demand for quality products and services by Zambia's rapidly expanding middle class.
Zambia was highlighted as one of the world's top 10 reformers in the 2018 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Ranking for the nation's continued efforts to create a more stable environment for domestic and international business. Zambia's continued prioritization of good regulatory practices, investment in small and medium-sized enterprises, trade facilitation, and export competitiveness through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) will supports Zambia as a more attractive and competitive market place. This workshop, and future events, will aid Zambia in obtaining its goals for export to the U.S. under AGOA, and greater adherence to international standards to support the import of quality products for Zambian consumers.
About the Standards Alliance and Trade Africa
The Standards Alliance was announced by USAID in November 2012 as a new funding facility designed to provide capacity-building assistance to developing countries, specifically related to implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. The main objectives of the program include: increased understanding of WTO TBT principles; implementation of the Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards; improved transparency in the development and/or modification of technical regulations; and more robust and transparent engagement with the private sector in standards development and use.
Trade Africa is a partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa to increase continental and regional trade within Africa, and to expand trade and economic ties among the Unites States, Africa, and other global markets. In 2016, the Trade Africa Initiative expanded to involve new partners, including Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, and Zambia. In support of Trade Africa, the Standards Alliance partnered with Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal to improve compliance with the WTO rules on trade facilitation and technical barriers to trade.
For more information on the Standards Alliance and for information on how to get involved in Standards Alliance activities with West Africa, visit the Standards Alliance web page.