International recognition of the West African Accreditation System

On 5 May 2022, the West African Accreditation System (SOAC) signed the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA), and on 14 May 2022 SOAC then signed the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) MRA.

Results issued by SOAC accredited laboratories are now internationally recognized. This is an historic milestone, as Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, Managing Director of the UNIDO’s Directorate of Digitalization, Technology and Agri-Business, recalled, because “when UNIDO proposed to the West African Monetary and Economic Union (also known under the French acronym, UEMOA), SOAC establishment as sole accreditation body covering 8 countries, very few people believed in”.

SOAC achievements are a result of a series of successful projects supporting the West African Quality Infrastructure Scheme, which were made possible through a long-standing partnership between UEMOA and the Economic Community of West Africa States ECOWAS Commissions, the European Union and UNIDO.

Together with Nigeria National Accreditation System (NiNAS) and Ghana National Accreditation Service (GhaNAS), SOAC is contributing to facilitating trade, protecting ECOWAS citizens’ health and safety as well as the environment.

"We congratulate the General Assembly, the Administrators and in particular the Resident Representative and Director General, his staff and SOAC external experts (...) for this recognition," reads a press release signed Abdoulaye Diop, Commission President of UEMOA.

Accreditation is expected to play an increasing role in sustainable development. Conformity assessment can help move us towards digitalization and a more circular economy, by driving more sustainable production and responsible consumption. Furthermore, accredited – and hence reliable – conformity assessments support the global response to climate change in many ways. Conformity assessment bodies test, certify, verify and inspect in areas such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency or renewable energy; thus, playing a crucial role in combatting climate change.

SOAC is presently serving 9 ECOWAS Member States: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Learn more about SOAC here.

For further information contact Bernard Bau (b.bau [at] (b[dot]bau[at]unido[dot]org))