Validation of 31 ECOWAS Standards: An important step towards strengthening competitiveness of West African products and services

April 06, 2023

Validation of 31 ECOWAS Standards. An important step towards strengthening competitiveness of West African products and services

On 30 March, 31 draft ECOWAS Standards (ECOSTANDs) related to three regional value chains — Mango, Cassava, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) — were validated by the Ministers of Industry of ECOWAS Member States.

Once adopted by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, the West Africa region will have 31 harmonized ECOSTANDs which, through their application, will be of great support in the promotion of the ECOWAS Regional Conformity Mark (ECOQMARK) and ensure an increase of consumer protection in the region.

To achieve this result, the UNIDO-implemented regional component of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), the West Africa Competitiveness and Quality Infrastructure Project (WACQIP), organized from 21 – 24 March, together with the ECOWAS Commission, the 18th meeting of the Technical Management Committee (TMC) of the ECOWAS Standards Harmonization Mechanism (ECOSHAM), held in Banjul, Republic of The Gambia, to validate the draft standards and recommend them for endorsement by the Ministries in charge of Industry of the ECOWAS Member States. Subsequently, on 27 March 2023, the 31 standards were validated by experts from the sectoral ministries of ECOWAS member states, who are responsible for quality in their respective countries. Consequently, the Ministers met on 30 March 2023, in The Gambia, and validated all submitted draft standards.

The development of a Regional Quality Infrastructure and regional standards is an enabler for sustainable development and sustainability, encompassing economic, social and environmental aspects and an essential element of a conducive business environment, as it will ultimately make quality control and certification affordable for any company willing to sell quality and safe products in the region. This will improve overall competitiveness in West Africa. The past results achieved with the support of UNIDO through the EU-funded West Africa Quality Programmes (WAQP) and the current result achieved through the validation of these 31 ECOWAS standards, prove that quality is making its way into the minds and attitudes of practitioners and politicians alike.

The WACOMP is funded by the European Union, and this programmatic initiative between the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and the European Union with the support of the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union Commission (UEMOA) includes 1 Regional Component and 16 Country Components. With a portfolio of 29 million euro, UNIDO is one of the main implementing agencies of the Programme.