Launch of activities of the accreditation body for West Africa - SOAC

Launch of activities of the accreditation body for West Africa - SOAC

With the support of the West African Economic and Monetary Union Commission (UEMOA), the West African Accreditation System (le système ouest-africain d'accréditation/SOAC) will hold its second General Assembly (GA) in Abidjan from 29-30 March 2018. This GA will mark the start of the activities of this unique accreditation body, common to eight member states, and created in 2010 by the UEMOA Council of Ministers with the support of the West Africa Quality Programme (2007-2012), executed by UNIDO and funded by the European Union. Indeed, on the side-lines of the GA, the keys of its provisional headquarters will be released under the patronage of the Ministry of Industry and Mines of Côte d'Ivoire. Also, the newly appointed Director General (DG), Mr. Marcel GBAGUIDI will be introduced. It should be noted that the construction works of SOAC headquarters in Côte d’Ivoire have already started.

Through SOAC, the region will now have its own accreditation structure that will make this service accessible to calibration laboratories, testing laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies. So far, their accreditations have been issued within the region by foreign accreditation bodies at costs deemed expensive. 

For Mr. Aboubacry BARO, Chairman of SOAC “the operationalization of the activities of the SOAC should completely change the situation, for the benefit of the economy and populations of the UEMOA region, as:

  • CABs’ skills will now be assessed in the region at a lower cost;
  • SOAC's action will support national mechanisms to ensure that people consume products & services that are safe, healthy and compliant to international standards;
  • Companies will have the opportunity to have SOAC accredited CABs able to test the conformity of their products before exporting them, reducing the risk of rejection in the target countries.”

SOAC is one of the key parts of the ECOWAS Regional Accreditation System (RAS) whose purpose is to cover the accreditation needs of all its member states.

For more information visit the Programme website or contact: Mr. Bernard Bau (B.Bau [at] unido.org)