IEC to boost TBS participation in electro-technical standardization

A group photo of participants of IEC stakeholders’ workshop held at TBS headquarters from 19th‒20th April 2017. Among those at the forefront, seated, are TBS Director General, Prof. Egid Mubofu (centre), Director of Standards Ms. Edna Ndumbaro (left), Mr. François Yapo Ahoti, Regional Director, International Electrotechnical Commission – Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) (second left) and Ms. Evah Oduor, IEC Affiliate Coordinator for Africa.

When discussing membership of Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to international organizations mandated for standards development, IEC comes the second after ISO. Other organizations follow, including Codex Alimentarius Commission, African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), East Africa Standards Committee (EASC) and Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Standardization (SADCSTAN).

IEC is an acronym which stands for International Electrotechnical Commission. The International Electrotechnical Commission is the world’s leading organization for the preparation and publication of International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. These are known collectively as “electrotechnology”. IEC not only provides a platform to companies, industries and governments for meeting, discussing and developing the international Standards they require, but also promotes international co-operation on all questions concerning standardization in the electrical and electronic fields.

Tanzania Bureau of Standards in collaboration with International Electrotechnical Commission ‒ Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) conducted a two-day stakeholders’ workshop which deliberated on best pathway for Tanzania’s participation in IEC standardization activities. The workshop which was held at TBS headquarters from 19th ‒ 20th April 2017 drew participants mostly from those directly involved in standardization activities through technical committees organized by TBS.

In his opening speech, the Guest of Honour Prof. Egid Mubofu, Director General of Tanzania Bureau of Standards started by welcoming the participates to the workshop of which he said was the first workshop of its kind in the field of standardization to take place in Tanzania. Prof. Mubofu said that the United Republic of Tanzania through TBS has been cooperating with various international standards bodies including the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). He said that Tanzania participates in the IEC work through the Affiliate Member Programme which started effectively in the year 2001 and since then, TBS has been an active member of the IEC Affiliate Country Programme. He further said, as one of members in Affiliate Country Programme TBS has been beneficiary of the programme through among other issues, adoption of IEC international standards as national standards free of charge; opportunity to access electronically IEC working documents to a maximum of 10 pre-selected Technical Committees or Subcommittee and Tanzania experts participating in IEC technical meetings especially during the Annual IEC General Meeting, to mention but a few. He further informed the members that in addition to all the above mentioned benefits, the workshop was a result of IEC Affiliate Country Programme and from the workshop participants would be furnished with important information on how best TBS can participate in IEC standardization activities.

Speaking earlier, the Director of Standards Development Ms Edna Ndumbaro welcomed participants to workshop and requested for their active participation during the discussion. She briefly explained the main objective of the workshop and subject matters for discussion. She said apart from local facilitators, TBS invited guest facilitators Mr François Yapo Ahoti, the Regional Director, International Electrotechnical Commission – Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) and Ms Evah Oduor, IEC Affiliate Coordinator for Africa aimed to fulfil achievement of intended objective. She further said that, the workshop aimed to discuss key issues and share knowledge with the guest facilitators on best ways to improve Tanzania’s participation in IEC standardization activities. She highlighted some of the important issues that would be discussed during the workshop including but not limited to: roles and responsibilities of National Electrotechnical Committee, participation in IEC work and meetings, engagement of stakeholders in IEC activities, provision of support in terms of training and mentorship to Tanzania as IEC Affiliate Member,  the IEC Regional Centre and its functions and roles and responsibilities of NEC-Tanzania members and their participation as experts in IEC work.

During presentations, Mr. Henry Masawe, Secretary to NEC-Tanzania informed participants that Tanzania will soon gain its status from Affiliate Member to Affiliate Member Plus. The new status will enable the country to widen its chances of participation in standardization activities at international level which are supervised by IEC. He concluded his presentation by commending remarkable efforts being made by IEC-AFRC to ensure that African countries under IEC Affiliate Member Programme including Tanzania become more active participants in IEC standardization activities.
The workshop was closed by Ms. Mary Meela, the Standards Manager at TBS. In her remarks, Ms. Meela said that the aim of the workshop was to provoke discussion among members of NEC Tanzania in on side and invited IEC-AFRC officials on the other side, over the best ways to participate in IEC standardization. She said, it was her expectation that all participants have made important contributions and were committed to the discussion on this unique field of standardization – with the understanding that “standardization”, in the context of that workshop, was considered from comprehensive perspective. She thus called upon all workshop participants to continue working together through collaborations with other relevant stakeholders who are interested with the subject matter meanwhile underlining the national interest and priorities.