Development of Quality Infrastructure in West Africa

Development of Quality Infrastructure in West Africa

Quality infrastructure (QI) has been at the heart of UNIDO’s intervention in West Africa since 2001. From the initial observation of the overwhelming reliance on agricultural products, high rejection rates on import markets as well as the lack of capacity to implement WTO TBT and SPS agreements, UNIDO has implemented regional and national quality programmes aiming to support and strengthen institutional and human capacity throughout the region. Three regional programmes have been implemented to date (2001-2005, 2007-2012, 2014-ongoing) with the objective of enhancing the competitiveness of the industrial sector and fostering economic integration of West African states through the development of a common quality infrastructure for ensuring compliance to international standards


The legal framework for the initiatives to strengthening QI in the region is the adoption of National Quality Policies (NQPs). Quality Policy is becoming mainstream in West Africa since a number of ECOWAS countries adopted their NQPs: After Burkina Faso, Mali, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mau­ritania, Senegal, Niger and Benin, Guinea is the 9th country in the West African region to have adopted its NQP. The seven remaining countries in the region have their NQPs already drafted with the support of ECOWAS and the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP), funded by the European Union in the tune of 12 Million Euros and implemented by UNIDO. All 16 national quality policies of beneficiaries’ countries are aligned with the regional ECOWAS Quality Policy (ECOQUAL) adopted by ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in February 2013.

Following this adoption, the Community Regulation N° C/REG.19/12/13 established the ECOWAS Quality Infrastructure Scheme. Article 7 of this Regulation led to the creation of the Community Quality Council (CCQ) and five community committees on standardization (ECOSHAM) metrology (ECOMET), conformity assessment (ECOCONF), technical regulation (ECOREG) and accreditation (ECORAS) are in place. The CCQ will regularly define the strategic orientations in each of these technical areas. The ECOWAS Agency for Quality (ECOWAQ), as executive secretary of the CCQ, is in charge of the secretariat of these regional community committees. Ultimately, these structures will contribute to the development and operation of suitable, relevant, efficient and effective quality infrastructure recognized at international level to improve the competitiveness of products and services on regional and international market.

UNIDO, a key partner of the ECOWAS Commissions and West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) in the field of QI, provided the technical assistance needed to achieve these results through the WAQSP. One of the results of the WAQSP activities was the development of necessary legal texts regarding the organization and the operation of the above-mentioned bodies. In this context, draft texts have been prepared, examined and officially adopted. A financing mechanism for the ECOWAS Quality Infrastructure Scheme has also been proposed.


The established quality structures as well as ECOWAQ will support the development of intra-regional and international trade, also allowing the availability of safe and healthy products and services in the market, for the benefit of the West African consumers.





To consolidate these achievements, the WAQSP will further support consumers to better organize themselves and the technical activities of the regional quality infrastructure, namely the CCQ, its secretariat (ECOWAQ) and its 5 committees (ECORAS-ECOCONF-ECOMET-ECOSHAM-ECOREG).



Project title West Africa Quality System Programme
Thematic area Advancing Economic Competitiveness
Donor European Union
Project counterpart ECOWAS


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