Botswana - Country Commercial Guide
Standards for Trade

Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.

Last published date: 2022-08-02

Overview

The Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) is a parastatal organization that develops and implements national Botswana standards.  Separate government ministries, parastatals, and private companies can develop standards specifically for their own institutions; however, only BOBS is recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and has the authority to create national standards.  The procedures used in the development of standards comply with the World Trade Organization’s code of good practice for the development of standards.

Botswana’s standards regime consists of compulsory and voluntary standards.  Compulsory standards affect human health, safety, environment or export, which BOBS monitors to ensure compliance.  BOBS enforces compulsory standards on seven products:  petroleum gas, poultry feed, pre-packaged goods for consumers, cereals/sorghum grains for consumption, cattle feeds, garments, and drinking water.  Voluntary standards are not binding or legally required, but compliance may increase product competitiveness.  Altogether, there are more than 600 Botswana standards that have been published for different sectors in Botswana.  A standards catalogue is now available to the public at the BOBS Information Department.  Any foreign entity or company that is accredited in its home country is allowed to certify products in Botswana.

Standards

BOBS is the sole organization that develops national standards, and it has an annual plan of standards.  The National Food Control Board is the only other organization in Botswana that develops an annual plan.  BOBS sends its plan annually to the ISO.

Testing, Inspection and Certification

Conformity Assessment

BOBS provides conformity assessments in testing, certification, and inspections.  The government-created National Testing System (NTS) is made up of all government, private, and parastatal laboratories.  Through a Memorandum of Agreement with BOBS, these laboratories perform tests for the government whenever required.  Whenever BOBS receives a request for testing or calibration, the request is passed on to a relevant laboratory. However, according to the Director of Standards, BOBS has well-equipped laboratories and continues to equip others to carry out testing, though they still send some requests outside the country.

Product Certification

Any public or private body whose product satisfies all the requirements of a Botswana product standard can apply to BOBS for the product to be certified.  Samples of the product are then tested to verify its conformance to the requirements of the product standard, and if the results are acceptable, the product can then obtain the BOBS certification mark.

There are benefits to product certification.  The construction industry is one of the major users of standards in Botswana.  The GoB has insisted that materials and products for construction must be BOBS-certified.  No waivers are available for compulsory standards.

Botswana does not have any mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) on standards with U.S. organizations.

Accreditation

The government does not have a national accreditation body.  Laboratory reports are sent to the accreditation boards in South Africa, Mauritius, or the United Kingdom.  SADC countries established a regional accreditation organization called the Southern African Development Committee for Accreditation Services (SADCAS).

Publication of Technical Regulations

Use ePing to review proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures 

The ePing SPS&TBT platform (https://epingalert.org/), or “ePing”, provides access to notifications made by WTO Members under the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), distributed by the WTO from January 16, 1995 to present.  ePing is available to all stakeholders free of charge and does not require registration unless the user wishes to receive customized e-mail alerts.  Use it to browse notifications on past as well as new draft and updated product regulations, food safety and animal and plant health standards and regulations, find information on trade concerns discussed in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees, locate information on SPS/TBT Enquiry Points and notification authorities, and to follow and review current and past notifications concerning regulatory actions on products, packaging, labeling, food safety and animal and plant health measures in markets of interest.

Notify U.S., operated and maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since 2003 to distribute and provide access to notifications (and associated draft texts) made under the WTO TBT Agreement for US stakeholders, has reached its end of life.  Per obligation under the TBT Agreement, each WTO Member operates a national TBT (and an SPS) Enquiry Point.   National TBT Enquiry Points are authorized to accept comments and official communications from other national TBT Enquiry Points, which are NOT part of the WTO or the WTO Secretariat.  All comment submissions from U.S. stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations, U.S domiciled standards development organizations and conformity assessment bodies, consumers, or U.S. government agencies on notifications to the WTO TBT Committee should be sent directly to the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point.  Refer to the comment guidance at https://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/guidance/guidance.cfm for further information. 

Changes to technical regulations within Botswana are usually circulated to members of the public and comments are allowed through business association bodies.  U.S. entities are also free to comment through these organized channels.

Contact Information

Botswana Bureau of Standards:

 

Physical Address

Plot No. 55745

Block 8, Gaborone

Main Airport Road

 

Postal Address

Private Bag B048

Gaborone, Botswana

Tel: (+267) 3903200

Fax: (+267) 3903120

Email: mailto:infoc@hq.bobstandards.bw