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ECOWAS Industry Experts Recommend Standards and Mutual Recognition

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In a significant move towards enhancing regional trade and quality standards, the ECOWAS Commission convened a meeting of Experts from Ministries responsible for Industry.

This gathering focused on advancing the ECOWAS Quality Policy (ECOQUAL) through the adoption of key instruments aimed at harmonizing standards and facilitating market access across West Africa.

Key Decisions and Recommendations:

  1. Revised ECOWAS Standard Harmonization Model (ECOSHAM):
    • The Industry Experts reviewed and endorsed the updated ECOSHAM, aligning it with the latest developments and African Standards Harmonization rules. ECOSHAM serves as a framework to harmonize standards within ECOWAS, ensuring consistency and conformity with international best practices.
  2. Draft ECOWAS Standards (ECOSTANDs) on Textile Value Chain:
    • A total of 58 draft ECOSTANDs focusing on the textile value chain were validated. These standards aim to uphold quality standards throughout the production and distribution phases, safeguarding consumer well-being and promoting regional industry competitiveness.
  3. Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for Inspection Certificates:
    • The Experts recommended the establishment of a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for Inspection Certificates. This MRA is designed to streamline cross-border trade by enabling the acceptance of inspection certificates across ECOWAS member states. It aims to reduce time and costs associated with quality control measures, thereby facilitating smoother trade flows within the region.

Next Steps:

  • The endorsed instruments, including ECOSHAM, the 58 ECOSTANDs on the textile value chain, and the MRA for Inspection Certificates, will be forwarded to the Ministers in charge of Trade and Industry for final endorsement.
  • The Experts expressed gratitude to the ECOWAS Commission for its leadership in coordinating and supporting the standards development process. They acknowledged the Commission’s commitment to deepening regional integration through the promotion of quality standards and intraregional trade facilitation.
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Group Picture

Conclusion: The outcomes of this meeting underscore ECOWAS’s commitment to fostering economic integration and enhancing trade within West Africa. By adopting these standards and the MRA, ECOWAS aims to create a conducive environment for businesses, promote consumer protection, and bolster regional competitiveness in the global market.

Through collaborative efforts and adherence to international standards, ECOWAS continues to pave the way towards a more integrated and prosperous West Africa, where quality assurance and streamlined trade procedures drive sustainable economic growth.

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