Strengthening of Capacities to steer the quality and standardization processes in countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)

The UEMOA Economic Commission, with the technical support of UNIDO, launched the regional programme, called UEMOA QUALITY for the implementation of a regional accreditation, standardization and quality promotion system. The first phase (2001-2005) was financed by the European Union (14 million EUR). The first phase was operationalized in the following areas: development of infrastructures and of quality programmes for a UEMOA industrial policy. At national level, the programme was executed in full cooperation with the Industry Coordination, president of the Pilot Committee and the National Standardization Organization, one of the main beneficiaries.
Within five years of implementation, the programme reinforced the scope of national standardization structures and laboratories. Further, it promoted the necessity of a quality approach at company level, focusing on competitiveness and fostering growth.

Significant results were achieved at country level:

  • Accreditation and reinforcement of the technical plateau of laboratories (CERES LOCUTOX laboratory and the assay office and experimental laboratory of the polytechnic school, both received equipment worth 100 million FCFA for analysis of the agro-food, metal and pesticide industry)
  • Reinforcement of capacities of the Standardization Association (10 million FCFA to equip the documentation center, to offer training sessions to staff members and to participate in meetings of the International Organization for Standardization)
  • Quality Oscar Award Senegal
  • Support of a suitable quality approach
  • Support of the certification International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 Version 2000 of five Senegalese companies (inter alia SODEFITEX, SENEMACA, GEAUR)
  • Establishment of a decent African cotton label (five classification standards)
  • Offer an integrated calibration chain to SODEFITEX, worth 120,000 USD, in order to meet more efficiently quality demands. The calibration chain can provide simultaneously information on the length, the tenacity, the elongation, the consistency and the tenuity of the fiber

The capacities of National Quality Systems are the essential achievements and services provided to companies in order to export their products on global markets. 800 experts are trained in the sub regions.  
The programme strengthened sub regional infrastructures in line with international standards. Further, the programme approach assisted the country to increase the local market share on the global market and harmonized the political instruments, according to international standards. Moreover, the programme reinforced intra-community transactions.

The regional programme demonstrates the necessity and the importance of a vision and of an action plan for technical assistance in a highly competitive economic system:

  • Global nature of key parameters such as entrepreneurial competitiveness and market access
  • Complementarity of international, regional and national dimensions

The second phase of the programme will be implemented in the course of the second half of 2007. The programme will be expanded to other ECOWAS countries and Mauritania. The funds for UEMOA countries will be provided by the European Union (estimated contribution 6 million). The programme and the industrial upgrading and modernization programme implemented at UEMOA country level in February 2007 will enhance the competitiveness of West African companies and intra-regional trade.