The European Union says it has provided over 1bn Euros as development assistance to support standardisation of goods and services produced in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries.
This was revealed recently in Abuja by The EU Project Manager for the West Africa Quality Systems Programme, Mr. Frank Okafor, at the extended steering committee of the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP).
He said the amount was specifically targeted to ensure that goods produced within the sub-region meet the global market, particularly for Europe and the Americas.
The objective of the meeting was to assess the progress of countries for certification purposes.
Okafor explained that the support of the EU for the Project was aimed at promoting and unifying trade within the ECOWAS sub-region as well as to the world markets.
The contribution, he added has been for a period of about 17 years and also included EU’s partnered and coordi-nated efforts with other Development partners such as the United States Agency for International Development, Germany among others.
Highlighting some of the intervention, he said the EU provided 140m Euros to support the West African Competitive Programme, 45m Euros to support product quality and 60m Euro to support trade facilitation pro-
gramme in the ECOWAS region.
He said, “All our contribution to this quality upgrade project is aimed at having a harmonized standards of products in West Africa and to ensure that goods and services here are competitive and meet the international requirement with all bearing the ECOWAS Quality Agency approval mark.”
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization Director-General, Mr Li Yong said the project would
promote and accelerate the inclusive and sustainable industrial development of developing countries.
Yong who was represented by the UNIDO Project Officer, WAQSP, Mr. Bernard Bau said that UNIDO’s intervention in the programme is aimed at supporting the implementation of the ECOWAS quality adopted in 2013.
According to him, would help in strengthening a regional quality system and allows companies to increase
their competitiveness and ensuring conformity with international standards at limited cost.
He said while nine out of the countries in ECOWAS have so far adopted their national quality policy, about seven including Nigeria have yet to do so.