The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its partners have intensified efforts in ensuring quality infrastructure and common standard for products and services in the region. Pursuant to this, the Department of Industry & Private Sector through the Directorate of Industry organized a two-day Quality Programs Partners meeting to discuss issues and areas of synergy among partners in Abuja, Nigeria. The forum provided an opportunity for partners to brainstorm and agree on next line of actions to be taken that is necessary for smooth implementation of quality programs ongoing in the region.
Welcoming participants to the meeting, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, Mr. Kalilou Traore, cited various policies that ECOWAS had adopted since 2010 namely; the West African Common Industrial Policy (WACIP) (2010); Quality Policy (2012) covering all pillars of quality infrastructure; the Model and Principles of Harmonization of Standards in ECOWAS (ECOSHAM) (2012), the Council also adopted the Regulation on the Scheme for ECOWAS Regional Quality Infrastructure (2012).
According to the Commissioner, the adoptions are meant to ensure that common standards for commodities, products and services are set in the region in order to encourage trade among Member States and enable the region to compete favorably in the international market.
The Commissioner listed other programs in this regard to include the West Africa Quality System Program (WAQS) funded by the EU and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) from 2015 (in continuation of an earlier program), the ECOWAS-PTB Metrology program and the ECOWAS-GIZ Quality Management Program being funded by the German Government and implemented by the PTB and GIZ respectively. Also named was the ECOWAS-ARSO-SIS Program for Capacity Building for International Standards Setting being funded by SIDA to be jointly implemented by the SIS, ARSO and ECOWAS.
In their various remarks, the partners, emphasized the importance of all implementing agencies knowing what each other is doing in order to synergize efforts and share ideas for smooth implementation. This is with a view to achieving the desired objective of ensuring quality infrastructure and common standards in West Africa.
They pledged that they will continue to provide technical expertise to ensure that the region is able to benefit from all the markets that are available for its products locally and internationally.
They added that, by ensuring quality and setting common standards the West African region will not only maximize its products market potentials but safeguard the region from dumping of unwanted and low quality or sub-standard products and services from outside the region.
The two-day quality programs partners’ meeting was coordinated by the Director of Industry, Mr. Mensan Lawson-Hechelli and attended by ECOWAS partners, including United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), German National Metrology Institute (PTB), Swedish Standard Institute (SIS) and African Organization for Standardization (ARSO).