UEMOA brochure 8 - Unido


UEMOA brochure 8 - Unido

Establishment of a UEMOA System for

Accreditation, Standardization and Quality Promotion

The West African Economic and Monetary Union – Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) of

Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo was established in 1994 to work

towards the economic integration of the region. With a population of 70 million and an area of 3.5 million sq. km.

it provides an enormous potential for economic development.

To foster this regional development UEMOA has agreed on a Common Industrial Policy which, as a core element,

foresees a Regional System for Accreditation, Standardization and Quality. This system will be a main driving force

in facilitating the participation of UEMOA countries in regional and international trade.

Upgrading Laboratories

towards Accreditation

Metrology, in conjunction with reference and testing

laboratories, has an essential role to play both in

improving product quality and in gaining international

recognition of this quality. By ensuring that the testing

activities of the laboratories comply with international

standards, the UEMOA/UNIDO Programme will create

confidence in local products and encourage a culture of

quality. The Programme will strengthen national

laboratories in both equipment and staff skills, and will

prepare them for international accreditation.

At a regional level the Programme will:

• Establish a regional accreditation secretariat.

• Set up regional networks of specialized laboratories.

• Establish a pool of qualified regional technical laboratory


• Harmonize analytical procedures throughout the region.

At a national level it will:

• Set up local networks of laboratories in the different

industrial sectors with databases that each country

can use to carry out its own analysis and calibration.

• Strengthen the capacity of existing testing

laboratories to analyze products.

• Improve the commercial, financial and quality

management of the laboratories.

• Ensure adequate maintenance of laboratory

equipment by highly skilled technicians.

More concretely, the Programme will

improve the capacity of the laboratories to

conduct regulatory inspection of plant and

animal health, and of pesticide residues,

and will harmonize the methods that are

used to analyze foodstuffs.

UEMOA, for its part, will ensure collaboration between the laboratories in the different member countries, through

their mutual recognition and their sharing of experience. It will encourage the establishment of regional accreditation

laboratories and laboratory networks where these would be more effective than national systems.

Most of the member states are however classified as Least Developed

Countries (LDCs). The implementation of the Common Industrial

Policy and the overall development of the region therefore constitute

a major challenge. The LDCs are in particular ill equipped to

participate in the new world of trade liberalization. They are

exposed to the increased competition that comes from lowered

trade tariffs, but are facing difficulties in delivering exports of the

required standard.

To meet this challenge UEMOA has, with the support

of the European Commission, and together with

DIAGNOS, developed a Programme of Regional

Integration and Private Sector Development, the

PARI Secteur Privé. This Programme contains a

component on “Quality” financed with EURO 12.5

million from the European Development Fund, to

be implemented in large part by UNIDO. The

Programme will focus particularly on measures

to ensure that goods produced in the region

meet international standards and


UNIDO will draw on its specialized expertise to provide

assistance in three areas:

• The establishment of a regional accreditation and

certification system: it will upgrade laboratories

so that they can receive international accreditation.

• The strengthening and harmonization of existing

standardization institutions: it will establish a

regional documentation center with a database of

standards and technical regulations, and will

develop and co-ordinate national standardization


• The promotion of quality in companies: it will

develop regional technical support centers to assist

companies improve the quality of their products;

it will introduce a UEMOA Quality Award and will

encourage the development of a culture of quality,

with a particular emphasis on consumer protection.

The major investment of resources will be in training national staff in the appropriate technical skills and

management responsibilities. Organizationally the Programme will be implemented at both regional and

national levels, with a regional coordination unit liaising with national coordinators. A regional expert group

will provide guidance for the Programme. In each country a steering committee will decide on national

priorities, which a national coordinator will then ensure are implemented.

The successful outcome of this Programme will be a significantly increased regional trade, following the

harmonization of standards and technical regulations within the region. At the same time, international

accreditation of national laboratories will facilitate the acceptance of exports in the markets of Europe and

the rest of the world. Such trade enhancement is essential to the economic development of the region.

Harmonizing Standards

The Programme will harmonize standards and will complete legal and regulatory

frameworks throughout the UEMOA countries. This will greatly facilitate trade within

the region, giving national producers a larger neighboring market to aim for, and

offering the economic benefits of improved economies of scale. With product specifications

drawn up to international standards, it will also facilitate international trade beyond

the region.


The Programme will undertake three main regional initiatives.

It will:

• Establish a regional documentation center with a database of

standards and technical regulations. This regional center will allow

the member countries to share the costs of these expensive


• Harmonize standards and technical regulations.

• Propose a framework law for consumer protection to ensure that

consumers are fully informed about product contents, correct

packaging and storage, and their health implications.

At the national level the Programme will:

• Develop the existing national institutions for standardization and quality control, and

train their personnel. These institutions will then be coordinated at the regional level.

• Encourage local companies to participate in the Programme by jointly identifying the

needs for standardization.

Goods produced both for local consumption and for export must conform to health,

safety and environment protection requirements. One of the Programme’s priorities

will be to introduce technical standards to ensure that these requirements are met.

Quality is, of course, not only determined by one party in a trading relationship. The

Programme will promote the knowledge and use of standards, technical rules and

quality management systems used in the countries that buy goods from and supply

goods to the UEMOA countries.

The introduction and harmonization of standards involves meetings at an expert level

with international organizations. The Programme will give the governments of the

member countries technical assistance in defining a common policy for intensifying their

dialogue with international technical organizations such as the WTO Committee on

Technical Barriers to Trade, international standardization organizations such as the ISO,

the Joint Commission of the FAO and the WTO on the Codex Alimentarius, as well as

with regional and sub-regional organizations.

Promoting Quality

Some of the essential support infrastructure for achieving improvement

in quality is provided through laboratory upgrading and accreditation,

as well as through harmonized standards. Success however will also

be determined by the attitudes of the men and women in the

companies, and in the technical support institutions. Without a culture

of quality the production processes will not successfully meet the

challenge of increased local, regional and international competition.

Primary aims of the Programme are therefore to foster quality

awareness, and to provide practical support for the companies that

undertake the pursuit of quality. Particular attention will be given

to gaining the commitment to quality, through the certification of

their products, of companies with high export potential.

Awareness of quality will be fostered in both producers and consumers:

• An annual UEMOA Quality Award will be established both as an

incentive to companies to pursue quality, and as a means whereby

they can measure themselves against national and regional


• Companies will be made aware of modern management, quality,

and continuous improvement concepts, with their economic benefits,

and of the importance of quality in a competitive market.

• Consumer protection laws and consumer protection associations

will be encouraged; assistance will be given to the creation of

public awareness campaigns.

The Programme will also provide further infrastructural

support and strengthen the national quality movement.

It will:

• Create a database to improve the coordination

of standards and technical rules between the

different parties: public administration, support

institutions, companies and consumers.

• Strengthen existing technical support centers

for specific industries, and develop selected

national technical support institutions into

regional centers.

• Support member countries in assisting their

companies to introduce standardization, quality

management, good manufacturing practices,

and productivity improvement techniques.

West African Economic and Monetary Union – Commission

Abdou Seyni

Director of Industry, Mining and Handicrafts

01 P.O. Box 543

Ouagadougou 01, Burkina Faso

Tel: +226-318873/76

Fax: +226-318872

e-mail: abdou.seyni@uemoa.bf

Design: Vander Weele Graphics, G. Hinker 8 / 2001 / 5000 Text: M. Scullion

United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento

Programme Manager

Quality, Technology and Investment Branch

P.O. Box 300

A-1400 Vienna, Austria

Tel: +43-1-26026-5501

Fax: +43-1-26026-6840

e-mail: bcalzadilla-sarmiento@unido.org

European Commission

Marco Formentini

Programming Officer


Africa, Carribean, Pacific

Economic Cooperation


Rue de la Loi 41

B-1000 Brussels

Tel: +32-2-2957378

Fax: +32-2-2957045

e-mail: marco.formentini@cec.eu.int

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