Africa Business and Economics

ECOWAS Committee holds workshop on measurement harmonisation

Accra, June 18, GNA- A Committee of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is considering the adoption of standardised measurement and calibration guides towards the effective implementation of West African Quality System Programme (WAQSP) for harmonisation.

The WAQSP is an European Union (EU) funded programme, which commenced in 2015 with the purpose of establishing quality infrastructure for the West African sub-region.

The ECOWAS Committee for Metrology (ECOMET) with partners will over the next three days, deliberate on and adopt drafts documents related to the calibration guides and harmonised verification procedures of measuring instruments to be used by member states.

In a welcome address delivered on his behalf, Professor Alex Dodoo, the Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), said his office was of the firm belief that the outcome of the workshop would influence industrial development in the sub-region.

He said it was significant for trade rules to be enforced to ensure quality output from one part of the world to the other, since the world had become a global village, adding that “the West African sub-region must also be brought on board to effectively participate in the global industrial development and international trade.

Prof Dodoo said countries like Ghana and other West African countries ought to work harder than before for the establishment of quality infrastructure to become integrated into the global network of quality and competitive trade.

He said Ghana and the rest of West African countries were prepared to move with the world by ensuring that quality becomes the hallmark of all manufacturing and trading activities with the international community and were eager to implement the WAQSP, which had been in operation since 2015.

He commended the EU for funding the programme, adding that the EU had also come out with another programme aimed at facilitating competitiveness of products from West Africa.

Prof Dodoo commended United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and other partners for supporting the sub-region to attain the objective of quality infrastructure aimed at making the sub-region competitive in the international market.

Dr Kemji Ajoku, a Representative from ECOWAS,  said the opening of ECOWAS Member States to the international market further confirms the role that quality infrastructure particularly metrology, have to play in order to guarantee a better competitiveness of products and services.

He said the Commission and its Member States ought to develop metrology under its three components of legal, industrial and scientific to ensure the traceability of measurements results within the sub-region.  

On his part, Mr Fakhruddin Azizi, the Representative of UNIDO, said the implementation of the WAQSP had led to the creation of the ECOWAS Quality Agency (ECOWAQ) with a mission to ensuring the coordination and serve as the secretariat of the various components of the Regional Quality Infrastructure.

He said by setting up ECOWAQ, the ECOWAS Commission had set the course for developing and operating in a suitable, relevant, efficient and effective quality infrastructure recognised at international level to improve the competitiveness of products and services or regional and international market and consumers protection.

Mr Azizi said metrology, the science of measurement, had been the base of the components of a quality infrastructure and that it was important to ensure the metrological traceability of measures and the protection of consumers at the national level.

He said despite the relative importance of quality in the economic and social development of States, metrology in ECOWAS Member States had remained in an embryonic state especially in the field of industrial and scientific metrology.

Mr Paul Date, the Chairman of the ECOMET in an interview said there was the need for ECOWAS Member State to come together as a united body towards ensuring harmonised system of measurement.

He said it was the expectation of the Committee that the various metrological activities would be harmonised to ensure uniformity across the sub-region.

Mr Date said at the end of the three-day workshop, the drafted guideline and procedures for implementation would be validated by delegates coming from the various ECOWAS countries.

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