Botswana - Country Commercial Guide
Standards for Trade
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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 organization is also an affiliate plus member of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), a corresponding member of the International Organization for Legal Metrology (OIML), and an associate member of the General Conference of Weights and Measures (CGPM).  The procedures used in the development of standards comply with the World Trade Organization’s code of good practice and considers the demands of WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO-TBT) Regulations for the development of standards. 

Botswana’s standards regime consists of compulsory (technical regulations) and voluntary standards. Compulsory standards affect human health, safety, environment or export, which BOBS monitors to ensure compliance. BOBS enforces compulsory standards on seven product categories:  electrical, mechanical, automotive, chemicals, agriculture, food, building and construction. Voluntary standards are not binding or legally required, but compliance may increase product competitiveness.  Altogether, there are more than 1,600 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 and can also be availed electronically.  Any foreign entity or company that is accredited in its home country is allowed to certify products in Botswana.  Popular standards are Quality Management ISO 9001, Occupational Health and Safety ISO 45001 and Environmental Management ISO 14001.


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. Anybody can suggest new standards or the revision of existing standards by submitting a proposal that meets a set of specific requirements as outlined by BOBS.  The public is also allowed to comment on draft standards.

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. 

BOBS has a Memoranda of Understanding with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), British Standards Institute (BSI), the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), The Namibian Standards Institute (NSI), the Turkish Standards Institute (TSI), and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZI) 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). SADCAS has accredited BOBS for their testing laboratories (scope of which includes microbiology analysis, civil engineering testing, mechanical engineering testing), calibration laboratories (scope of which includes temperature, dimension), as an inspection body for various products (agricultural, automotive, building, chemical, electrical, food and mechanical products), and in the field of mass metrology. 

Publication of Technical Regulations

Use ePing to review proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures. 

The ePing SPS&TBT platform (, 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 U.S. 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 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