Malawi Launches National Quality Strategy: UNDP Calls For Inclusive, Speedy Implementation

May 23, 2016

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative responsible for programmes, Carol Flore-Smereczniak at the National Quality Strategy (NQS) Launch

Blantyre, 19th May, 2016: With financial and technical support from the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union, Malawi has launched the first ever National Quality Strategy (NQS) with a call for an inclusive and immediate implementation of the strategy.

The National Quality Strategy (NQS) is a roadmap for the implementation of the National Quality Policy. The main outcomes of the strategy include a National Quality Infrastructure; An enabling quality environment; Industrial Productivity; and Consumer rights protection.

 

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative responsible for programmes, Carol Flore-Smereczniak commended the Government of Malawi for taking a bold step in launching the NQS but was quick to call for a speedy and multi-stakeholder involvement in the implementation of the strategy.

“This strategy requires both a concerted effort and strong leadership from Government. This is not the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, nor of Malawi Bureau Standards. It is the responsibility of all identified parties, from regulators, to conformity assessment bodies, to the private sector, the public sector and consumer associations. It calls for an intentionality to make things happen in Malawi,” said Flore at the launch of the Strategy in Blantyre.

 

She urged all the relevant stakeholders to implement the strategy. “Just launching or having strategies and policies in place is not an end in itself, as implementation is what matters most,” she said, noting that results-oriented implementation of many of Malawi’s policies and strategies remains a challenge for the country.

 

Carol Flore Smereczniak said the National Quality Strategy comes at an opportune time when the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is also implementing the recently launched Buy Malawi Strategy (BMS) which was also supported by UNDP. The BMS aims to among other things, instil a quality culture amongst Malawians and incentivize the private sector to produce Malawian goods and services that meet the needs of the consumer in terms of standards and quality.

 

“Based on feedback from the Private Sector, there is a general consensus that the “Buy Malawi” strategy is a critical contributor towards building the quality infrastructure, as it aims to promote products that are being processed by the Malawian Industry. If Government is consistent in their support towards the BMS, this would have a large overall impact in supporting local industry to invest in the country and at the same time work towards improving the quality of both their product and processes to match or even surpass the products that are being imported into the country,” she added.

 

Chief Director in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Charles Kambauwa said the NQS is an effort on the part of Malawi Government promote a culture of high quality products that can be exported to international markets.

 

“Government of Malawi wants to inculcate a quality culture through the creation of a credible quality infrastructure and creation of awareness among our people on the need to place emphasis on producing quality products and to actualize the National Export Strategy through the production and verification of products that are exportable and perceived as credible in foreign markets,” said Mr. Kambauwa.

 

Director General of the Malawi’s only standardisation body, Malawi Bureau of Standards, Davlin Chokazinga underscored the importance of the NQS for the country.

 

 “Without the National Quality Policy and Strategy it will be difficult to attain government goal of turning Malawi into a producing and exporting country,” he said.

 

The development of the NQS has been supported by UNDP and EU under the Standardisation, Quality Assurance Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) project as a road map for the implementation of the National Quality Policy adopted by the Government of Malawi in 2014.

The Government of Malawi is also supporting the Malawi Bureau of Standards, with assistance from the EU, UNDP and UNIDO, through the SQAM Project, to upgrade its infrastructure to meet the requirements for International accreditation. As such, the construction of a state-of-art laboratory complex for the Malawi Bureau of Standards in the commercial city of Blantyre is an ongoing effort that shall see completion by 2018.