In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, UNIDO supported through the West Africa Competitiveness and Quality Infrastructure Project (WACQIP) the development of two new Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) standards (ECOSTAND) on barrier masks for non-sanitary use and hydro-alcoholic gels in the West African region.

On 20 May 2020, the ECOWAS Community Committee for Standardization (CCS), created by the Council of Ministers and ensuring the role of the Technical Management Committee (TMC) of the ECOWAS Regional Mechanism for the Harmonization of Standards (ECOSHAM), has approved two draft ECOWAS standards on technical specifications for the manufacture of consumer masks for non-sanitary use (ECOSTAND 082:2020  Barrier Masks - Minimum Requirements - Methods of Testing - Making and Use [Serial Manufacture and Artisanal Making or DIY]) and hydro-alcoholic hand products (ECOSTAND 083:2020 Hydro-alcoholic products –Hand Sanitizer - Specifications and test methods). The next step will be their adoption and declaration as ECOWAS standards by the Council of Ministers.

During the online ECOSHAM TMC Meeting, H.E. Mr. Mamadou Traore, Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion at the ECOWAS Commission, highlighted: "I noted our common commitment to achieve something useful for our community, to provide our States with a benchmark that can be used to produce either barrier masks for non-sanitary use or hydro-alcoholic hands products but also for the commercialization of these products in our region." 

ECOWAS intends to continue producing harmonized regional standards with the support of CCS/TMC-ECOSHAM, notably on other products of the textile value chain, but also on those of the three additional value chains of mango, cassava, and ICT, as prioritized by WACQIP. Industry and Private Sector Promotion Department of ECOWAS, has started the identification of further standards needs expressed by the ECOWAS Commission and its specialized technical agencies, such as products in the fields of agriculture, agri-food, automotive, construction materials, energy, lead paint, oil and pharmacy.

The West Africa Competitiveness and Quality Infrastructure Project (WACQIP), implemented by UNIDO and financed by the European Union (EU), is the regional component of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP). 

Read the full article here.

For more information, please contact: Bernard Bau (B.Bau [at] unido.org) and Aka Jean Joseph Kouassi (A.Kouassi [at] unido.org)