Product certification is one of the most critical aspects in the West African Regional Quality Infrastructure Scheme. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Product Certification Mark, “ECOQMARK” is the regional mark created by ECOWAS to ensure compliance with its Community standards. However, its implementation requires prior adoption of its general rules by 15 Member States of ECOWAS. To this end, following the adoption of the draft regulation by the experts and sectoral Ministers of Trade and Industry on 27 May and 3 June 2021, the Eighty-Sixth Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of ECOWAS, held 16-17 June 2021 in Accra, Ghana, adopted the General Rules of “ECOQMARK”. This is a major step forward towards its implementation in West Africa and to ensure better quality of products and increased consumer protection in the region. Further to this, ECOWAS Procedures for Harmonization of Technical Regulations and five regional standards (ECOSTANDs) on energy performance of electrical appliances, water and sanitation have been adopted.
Over two decades, UNIDO supported development and operationalization of a Regional Quality Infrastructure Scheme in West Africa through establishment of the ECOWAS Community Council for Quality (CCQ) and its related committees (ECOCONF, ECOSHAM, ECOMET, ECORAS and ECOCONF) that among other functions support the development, adoption and application of regional standards. To promote ECOQMARK, UNIDO’s approach through the past West Africa Quality System Programme and the current West Africa Competitiveness and Quality Infrastructure Project, both funded by the European Union, is targeted towards the development of sector-specific certification schemes for the products of regional value chains.
The ECOQMARK will be implemented by national certification bodies, while nine West African countries have already established their own national certification bodies, some of them having benefitted from UNIDO’s past Quality Programmes. UNIDO will further provide technical assistance in West Africa to support seven remaining countries in the setting-up of certification bodies to support the adoption of ECOQMARK to enterprises in the West African region and to support pilot companies pertinent to the regional value chains to make use of ECOQMARK from the established certification bodies.
Visit the website of the West Africa Quality System Programme here.
For further information contact Bernard Bau (B.Bau [at] unido.org) and Aka Jean Joseph Kouassi (A.Kouassi [at] unido.org)