EU moves to give goods from Nigeria, others visibility
The EU Project Manager for the West Africa Quality Systems Programme (WAQSP), Frank Okafor, during the last lap of the meeting of the steering committee of the project to assess the preparedness of countries for the certification initiative yesterday in Abuja, noted that the support was to promote and unify trade between ECOWAS and world markets.
The contribution, he added, had been on for 17 years, including EU’s coordinated efforts with development partners.
However, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is supervising the project. It has the mandate to promote and accelerate the inclusive and sustainable industrial development of developing countries and economies in transition.
In his address, UNIDO Director-General, Li Yong, represented by the Project Officer in charge of the WAQSP, Bernard Bau, said the intervention was to ensure the implementation of the ECOWAS Quality-ECOQUAL adopted in 2013 to strengthen a regional quality system that complements existing national quality infrastructure and allows companies to increase their competitiveness and ensures conformity with international standards at a reasonable cost.
Giving the progress report thus far, Yong noted: “We have taken it from a very short perspective. But I think what counts here is the overall result. From last year, we have made big progress. We have held very critical regional training and workshops on different important topics such as consumer protection and public procurement guidelines to integrate quality requirements. We are also working on curricula for universities.”
The UNIDO chief added: “Now, we are accrediting 19 conformity assessment bodies in the region. Four of which are certification entities. We have also developed a quality certification mandate for ECOWAS. Some countries so far have also adopted their national quality policies.
He listed countries that had gotten certification to include all the Francophone and Anglophone nations, except Nigeria and one other.