Since 2001, the UEMOA and ECOWAS Commissions trusted UNIDO, through Quality Programmes financed by the European Union, to support the growth of local accreditation bodies (AB) in West Africa. One of the results achieved was the establishment of the West African Accreditation System (Système Ouest Africain d'Accréditation - SOAC) that serves the eight Member States of UEMOA (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo).
Based in Abidjan/Côte d’Ivoire, SOAC is the sole multi-economy accreditation body now serving nine ECOWAS Member States as Guinea became a member in October 2019. Launched last year and with already 11 laboratories accredited since January 2019, SOAC has been admitted as a full member of the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) and an associate member of the International Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). It was also the first AB in Francophone West Africa to host a General Assembly of AFRAC in September 2019.
Together with the Nigeria National Accreditation Service (NiNAS) and the Ghana National Accreditation Service (GhaNAS), SOAC is one of the three members of the ECOWAS Accreditation System (ECORAS). In accordance with the ECOWAS Quality Policy, ECORAS is participating in facilitating trade, protecting health and safety of citizens of the community and protecting the environment. It has been supported by the recently completed West Africa Quality System Programme and UNIDO will continue this successful co-operation through the implementation of projects under the EU-funded West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) which is a partnership initiative between ECOWAS and the EU.
In December 2019, SOAC’s DG Mr. Marcel Gbaguidi participated at a UNIDO/TII organized workshop on Laboratory Policy Development and delivered the herewith attached presentation on the achievements of SOAC.
For more information visit SOAC’s website or contact: Mr. Marcel Gbaguidi (info [at] soac-waas.org) or Mr. Bernard Bau (b.bau [at] unido.org).