Three countries in West Africa, especially in the French speaking region are now ahead of Nigeria in products certification. They are the Republic of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.
In a statement, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, said “Three product certification bodies (PCBs) in West Africa have obtained international recognition of their competence to certify products vis-à-vis national and international standards, an important step in enhancing the region’s companies’ competitiveness internationally.”
According to UNIDO, the three PCBs which received their accreditation to ISO IEC 17065 are: the Agence de Normalisation de Métrologie et du Contrôle de la Qualité (Benin), accredited in the field of soft drinks; CODINORM (Côte d’Ivoire), accredited in the field of electrical wires and cables; and the Association Sénégalaise de Normalisation (Senegal), accredited in the field of drinking water. Food products and building materials are among the priority sectors in the region.
“The accreditations have been obtained in the framework of the West Africa Quality System Program (WAQSP) – implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with funds from the European Union – which supports the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Quality Policy by helping develop quality infrastructures in the region.
“Together with Ghana Standards Authority, these organizations form the first four public sector PCBs accredited to ISO IEC 17065 in West Africa. They will now be able to offer their expertise to the other countries in the region currently upgrading their certification bodies,” said the statement.
According to UNIDO, the lack of internationally recognized conformity assessment bodies in West Africa hinders access to international markets for products of the region.
“Indeed, certifying that products are in compliance with international quality and safety standards are key for companies to reach new markets globally.
“With this achievement, ECOWAS now has the first regional competencies from the public sector to assess the conformity of products traded on its market.
“These PCBs were among a total of six public bodies selected by ECOWAS to get their accreditation. The Agence Nationale de Vérification de Conformité aux Normes (Niger) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria are still being accompanied in the process,” said the statement.
By Franklin Ocheneyi with Agency report