West Africa: ECOWAS Calls for Standardised Measurement to Promote Trade

As part of efforts to ensure the Africa Continental Free trade, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called for standardised measurement to promote trade among West African countries.

According to Dr Kemji Ajoku, Head of Industry Division of ECOWAS, Abuja-Nigeria, ECOWAS still face constraints in promotion of intra-regional trade as a result, member states could not compete equally in the global market.

He was speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop for the adoption of the draft documents related to the calibration guides and harmonised verification procedures of measuring instrument by the community committee for metrology (ECOMET), yesterday in Accra.

It aimed at promoting economic growth and development through the establishment of quality infrastructure in the sub-region of West Africa.

Dr Ajoku noted that it was essential for ECOWAS member States to develop metrology under legal, industrial and scientific components in the sub-region to ensure the traceability of measurement results.

For West African countries to be able to compete globally, he indicated that the countries had to adopt quality infrastructure and good measurement to enable them to harmonise their systems to develop the economy.

Dr Ajoku observed that when member states adopted quality measurement system, the industry would benefit and consumers would be protected.

The Director General of Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), Professor Alex Dodoo, emphasised that there was the need to promote economic growth, adding that the world had become a global village for which reason applicable trade rules should be enforced to ensure quality output.

Prof. Dodoo urged West African countries to effectively participate in international trades to boost the industry globally.

"West African countries ought to work harder than before for the establishment of quality infrastructure to become integrated into the global network of quality and competitive trade," he stressed.

The GSA Director General expressed the readiness of the country to equally compete with other countries to improve trading activities with the international community.

Mr Fakhruddin Azizi, the Representative of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), on his part, lauded ECOWAS for the initiative to promote quality infrastructure and uniform measurement system that would boost trade.

He observed that quality infrastructure in a region of over 300 million people and 15 economies, was a long term process and stressed the need for coordination among member states to improve economic and social development in the sub-region.

Mr Azizi regretted that people paid less attention to metrology, saying "the act of measurement is now the weakest component in our regional quality infrastructure, not allowing a better implementation of inspection, testing, certification, accreditation and standards enforcement activities."

To implement the common quality policy, he called on member states to pay keen attention to the sector to raise the level of metrology to ensure the reliability of measuring equipment used in industry, laboratories and inspection bodies.

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