VIENNA/BRUSSELS, 9 November 2018 – A delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by Mamadou Traoré, ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, visited both UNIDO’s headquarters and its liaison office in Brussels this week to discuss cooperation initiatives as well as strengthening partnerships with European Commission policymakers.
The visit was organized within the framework of the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP), a programme implemented by UNIDO, with funds from the European Union, to support the implementation of the ECOWAS Quality Policy – ECOQUAL – through the establishment of regional quality infrastructure in the fields of standardization, accreditation, conformity assessment, metrology and quality promotion.
Among other things, UNIDO and ECOWAS discussed cooperation to support the implementation of West Africa Common Industrial Policy’s (WACIP) strategy 2015-2020, which aims to accelerate the region’s industrialization through the promotion of four regional priority sectors: agro-industry and agribusiness, the pharmaceutical industry, the construction industry, and the automotive and machinery industries.
Traoré expressed strong interest in several areas of UNIDO’s expertise, in particular the new upgrading approach, the set-up of regional technical centres, and support for industrial parks, special economic zones and clusters of enterprises – with a special focus on youth employment and women’s empowerment.
The delegation’s visit to Brussels served to deepen its understanding of the current European development model and to learn best practices from key quality infrastructure actors. The delegation exchanged knowledge of ECOWAS’ Regional System for Quality with relevant policy- and decision-makers at the European Commission and the African, Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Secretariat. Meetings were also organized with entities responsible for standardization and accreditation – including the European Committee for Standardization and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CEN-CENELEC) and the Belgian Accreditation Body (BELAC).
During the week, Traoré also presented the ECOWAS industrial strategy to the diplomatic community in Vienna during an event dedicated to the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa 2016-2025 (IDDA III). The culmination of the mission was a visit to the Fraunhofer industry 4.0 Institute in Vienna where the delegation could gain an understanding of smart, futuristic, innovative solutions for automation and robotization.
“The outcome of the various meetings held is going to be harnessed into meaningful programmes and projects that will benefit the development of the ECOWAS region in general,” said Traoré at the conclusion of the week.
Take a look at some images from the week here.
For more information, please contact:
Industrial Development Officer
UNIDO Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation (TII)
Policy and Programme Officer
UNIDO Liaison Office in Brussels