Lome-Togo — The ECOWAS Commission has set up a framework, ECOWAS Quality Policy (ECOQUAL), which aims to create and improve relevant and effective quality infrastructure to facilitate intra-regional and international trade. The policy will also protect consumers, the environment and reduce poverty by promoting sustainable economic development.
This was the outcome of a four-day ECOWAS National Experts Workshop which ended in Lome, Togo on 7th September 2012. The meeting was opened by Togo's Minister of Industry, Free Zone and Technological Innovations, represented by the country's Quality Focal Person, Mr. Worou Batoulim-Bognowe.
In his speech, the Minister stressed the importance of quality infrastructure comprising Standard Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) as priority areas to improve competitiveness and integration among Member States. He also said that the policy when fully implemented will ensure access by Member States to regional and international markets, promote industrialization and consequently create employment and reduce poverty.
To this end, the experts recommended that Ministers in charge of standards and related issues in the region should validate the ECOWAS Quality policy with the implementation matrix and an appropriate governance structure established at the ECOWAS Commission for effective implementation of the policy. They also called on the Commission to establish a sustainable funding mechanism for the implementation of the policy.
Member States will, under the Quality policy, elaborate technical regulations and ensure their enforcement in sensitive areas such as food, construction materials and electrical appliances. Member States without a standards body to regulate quality and ensure best practices should set up such institutions.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the African Eco-labeling mechanism, the Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry, as well as officials of UEMOA and the ECOWAS Commissions.