Set up of the ECOWAS Standards Compliance Mark: Already six national product certification bodies ready to protect the West African consumer and strengthen Quality Infrastructure in the region

Set up of the ECOWAS Standards Compliance Mark: Already six national product certification bodies ready to protect the West African consumer and strengthen Quality Infrastructure in the region

A first pool of public Product Certification Bodies (PCBs) have recently obtained international recognition of their competence through their accreditation to ISO IEC 17065 by ACCREDIA, the Italian accreditation body: AVCN (Niger), ANM (Benin), CODINORM (Côte d’Ivoire) and ASN (Senegal). Furthermore, GSA, the Ghana PCB, as well as a private PCB in Côte d’Ivoire (BNA), have been accredited by DAKKS, the German accreditation body.

With the availability of these six internationally accredited PCBs within the West African region, ECOWAS has now a set of regional competencies ready to assess the conformity of products traded on its market, such as drinking water, soft drinks, dry meat, electrical wires and cables, chocolate, beverages, roasted cashews and canned tuna. In this regard, a technical validation workshop of draft documents related to the setting up of the ECOWAS Products-Certification System has been organized on 31st May and 1st June in Cotonou, Benin. The ECOWAS Member States delegates validated a set of documents related to the ECOWAS Product Certification Scheme, prior to their final approval by the ECOWAS Community Conformity Assessment Committee (ECOCONF). One of the main outcomes of this scheme is the ECOWAS Standards Compliance Mark, which will be exclusively delivered by mandated and competent PCBs that are now in place.

Mr. Moise ASSOGBA, Certification Director of the recently accredited PCB AVCN in Niger, underlined that “[…] the accreditation of AVCN will support the surveillance of the national market by guaranteeing the consumer access to safe products that can be easily identified by the National Quality Mark of Niger. Furthermore, the ECOWAS Mark allows national operators in Niger to be present in the sub-regional and international markets, in particular for the first certified product which is dry meat (KILICHI). In fact, certification bodies, preferably accredited like AVCN, will now be able to grant the regional label to enterprises at affordable costs.”

These results were obtained through the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP) which is funded by the European Union in the tune of 12 Million Euros and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

For more information see the online article or contact:  Mr. Bernard Bau (b.bau [at] unido.org)