The first Quality Infrastructure (QI) Forum of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, was held from 30 January to 1 February in Dakar, Senegal, with the support of the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP), which is funded by the European Union and executed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). It was attended by high-level government representatives, including five Ministers, UNIDO project partners (ECOWAS, UEMOA, EU) and technical partners (AFRIMETS, AFRAC, ARSO), public and private sectors officials, as well as more than 200 other national, regional and international participants.
As a prelude to the forum, the first meeting of the ECOWAS Community Council for Quality and the Constitutive General Assembly of the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Quality (ECOWAQ), the two governing institutions of the Regional Quality System, took place on 29 January.
The first panel of the forum focussed on quality policy formulation and the implementation of a QI in a regional context. The key recommendations of this panel pointed out the necessity of sharing inter-country experience as well as a high involvement of all national stakeholders for an effective deployment of quality policies. The second panel entitled “Funding the QI” included presentations from the World Bank, UNECA, the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development and the Delegation of the European Union in Nigeria and ECOWAS. As a conclusion, panellists stressed the importance of international cooperation as well as national commitment to cover the financial needs of developing countries. The third panel on issues and challenges faced by the major QI components portrayed the state of play in the area of QI development as a whole and in the field of standardization, accreditation and metrology in particular. Panellists from UNIDO, ISO, AFRAC, AFRIMETS and PTB highlighted the importance of creating the demand for quality in order to ensure sustainability of the QI. The fourth and last panel of the forum was dedicated to the development of a quality culture in West African. Investing in students and quality education, strengthening private sector quality associations and introducing requirements for quality certifications in public tenders were identified as strategic levers for the development of a quality culture in the region.
For more information see the online article or contact: Mr. Bernard Bau (B.Bau [at] unido.org)