Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA) was formed by the Government of Swaziland through the Quality and Standards Act (10) 2003, and is a parastatal under the auspices of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade. This Act gives SWASA the mandate of promoting standards and quality in local industry, commerce and the public sector and also empowers the Authority to be the sole custodian of all issues regarding standards and quality in Swaziland. The move to establish SWASA was in-line with regional and international trends brought about by World Trade Organisation (WTO) initiatives aimed at eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, and creating a neutral platform that will promote trade of quality goods and services across countries and economic blocks. Besides opening up global opportunities for trade, standardisation also ensures that imported and locally manufactured goods are not harmful to human and animal lives and the environment.
Regionally, SADC being concerned with the economic development of its member states has fully embraced the concept by setting up structures that will look into the development of Standards, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) infrastructure in the region. SADC SQAM www.sadcstan.co.za activities are also a consequence of the SADC Protocol on Trade signed by member states in 1996, which provides for the total elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade within the region by 2008. Countries have had to prepare themselves for the emergence of the free trade area given the expected increase in cross border trade within the region. Ill prepared countries may find themselves being flooded with sub standard and harmful goods and not being able to take advantage of available markets beyond their borders.