Context

PRESENTATION OF THE ECOWAS QUALITY AGENCY (ECOWAQ)

Creation

The Agency was set up following the adoption by the Council of Ministers of ECOWAS, of Regulation c / reg.13 / 06/17 authorizing the establishment of a regional association of quality called quality agency of ECOWAS (ECOWAQ).

This structure was created in application of the Regulation C / REG.19 / 12/13 adopting the Regional Quality Infrastructure Scheme of ECOWAS, particularly in its article 7 on the creation of regional quality structures.

The Agency was effectively set up during a Constitutive General Assembly held on 29 January 2018, in Dakar, Senegal, attended by representatives of ECOWAS Member States, the ECOWAS Commission, the UEMOA Commission and the regional umbrella structures of the private sector (FOPAO, FEWACCI).

 

Objective

ECOWAQ aims to support the technical and operational implementation of policies defined at the regional level in the areas of Standardization, Certification, Accreditation, Technical Regulation, Conformity Assessment, Promotion of Quality and Metrology, as adopted in February 2013 by the Conference of Heads of State and Government in the framework of the ECOWAS Regional Quality Policy (ECOQUAL) and its implementation framework.

Missions

In accordance with article 3 of the aforementioned regulation authorizing its creation, the Agence a for mission the operational management of the Infrastructure Scheme Quality of the ECOWAS, in particular through the implementation of the following specific missions:

  • Assistance with the implementation of the decisions taken by the Community Quality Council;
  • The management of a Common Permanent Secretariat of the Community Quality Council, the Community Technical Committees and the Regional Accreditation System;
  • Management of the regional certification scheme and the regional certification Mark;
  • Support for the implementation of quality promotion activities, including the technical organization of the ECOWAS Quality Award and the management of the Trademarks;
  • All other activities related to the promotion of regional quality infrastructure.

ECOWAQ takes over from the WAQSP that set it up

The objective of the West Africa Quality System Program (WAQSP) was to support the implementation of the ECOWAS Quality Policy - ECOQUAL. It has been funded by the European Union to the tune of 12 million Euros and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The WAQSP was the third phase of a project supporting the development of quality infrastructures in West Africa that began in 2001, funded by the EU and executed by UNIDO. Indeed, after a successful first phase of the program which lasted 5 years (2001-2005), the EU funded a second phase (2007-2012) that produced tangible and rewarding results: the adoption of a regional quality policy and national quality policies, the definition of a regional quality infrastructure chart, the adoption of regional standards, the accreditation of 21 testing / calibration laboratories according to ISO / IEC 17025 and ISO 15189, the certification of 20 companies according to ISO 9001 / ISO 22000, the equipment of metrology laboratories and training of more than 4,000 members of the laboratories staff, etc.

The WAQSP started in August 2014, with the main objective to strengthen regional trade and economic integration in West Africa through the creation of an enabling environment for the respect of international trade rules and technical regulations. This involved the following 4 specific objectives:

  • Specific objective 1:  Relevant actors in countries covered by the program make use of the regional quality infrastructure and harmonized legal framework. 
  • Specific objective 2: Private sector has access to strategically prioritized and harmonized standards for facilitated regional and international trade.
  • Specific objective 3: Private and public sectors have access to a network of accredited and competitive conformity assessment services provided in the region.
  • Specific objective 4:  A culture of quality is entrenched in private sector operators.
               

The program mainly supported the ECOWAS Commission, its Member States and Mauritania to strengthen their quality infrastructure for higher efficiency, improved competitiveness and greater participation in intra- and interregional trade. Finally, the WAQSP was able to create quality excellence centers and specialized quality institutions networks such as: laboratories and conformity assessment bodies in order to provide effective services to local businesses and exporters and ensure the protection of consumers and the environment.   

The West Africa Quality System Program (WAQSP) thus contributed to sustainable economic development of the region.

Have a look on its main results by watching this video (click on the FOLLOWING link):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHkLYUfe8ZI 

This program is funded by the European Union with the technical support of UNIDO

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Commision of the European Union

Copyright - 2019 - ECOWAS AGENCY FOR QUALITY