Niamey - Niger — A meeting of experts in the area of Policy Quality commenced on Wednesday 17th October 2012 in Niamey, Niger, to finalize two draft documents of quality policy and standards for the harmonization procedures in the ECOWAS region. This meeting of experts paving way for the ministerial meeting scheduled to commence in three days, in the Nigerien capital, is the culmination of a long process of ECOWAS Quality Policy and standards harmonization model formulation.
The opening session of the meeting was chaired by the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Mines and Industrial Development of Niger, M. Hassane Garba, who reiterated that the quality policy of the sub-region is one of the ten programmes that should enhance the implementation of the strategies identified in the ECOWAS common industrial policy (WACIP). Previously, Mrs Sanda Mourzanatou, representative of Niger’s Quality focal person, had welcomed participants to the meeting, while reiterating her conviction that the ECOWAS experts, specialists in Quality matters will no doubt give a good account of themselves with a view to achieving the objectives set at the meeting.
Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner responsible for Trade, Customs, Industry and Mines, Free Movement, and Tourism of the ECOWAS Commission, the Director of Industry and Mines, Mr. Mensan Lawson-Hechelli, placed the meeting within its context, reiterating that one of the objectives of ECOWAS was to promote cooperation and integration leading to the establishment of an economic union in West Africa.
Indeed, in view of the global challenges and the significant role of industry in national development, ECOWAS Member States have reaffirmed their firm commitment to industrialization, vector for development, and have the intention of partnering with the private sector for effective and efficient implementation of WACIP. Adopted by ECOWAS Heads of State and Government at the 38th ordinary session of their Summit held in Sal, Cape-Verd, on July 2 2010, the general objective of WACIP is on one hand to accelerate industrialization in the region underpinned by national industrial transformation of local raw materials, developing and diversifying industrial productive capacities and on the other hand strenghtening regional integration.
Out of the ten regional programmes relating to the specific objectives, strategies and WACIP activities focused on implemetation, the priority programme remains the one on standardization, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology (NQAM or quality infrastructure - QI) Emphasis should be laid on Article 26.3 (L) of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty (1993) which states that: “In order to create a solid basis for industrialization and promote self-reliance, Member States shall: adopt common standards and appropriate quality control systems” Thus, as part of its integration programme and following extensive consultations, ECOWAS Commission developed a draft Regional Quality Policy, which reflects the needs of Member States.
This draft policy provides an essential basis for the harmonization or the formulation of national Quality policies to guide the creation of suitable, efficient and internationally recognized national QI. The draft ECOWAS Quality Policy takes into account the inherent differences between legal systems, administrative structures and the level of technological development in the region.