Too many consumers in West African countries are unaware of their rights, and some consumer protection organizations in the region are not fully engaged with the available quality infrastructure. Nor does the region have a harmonized legal framework that defines consumer protection measures and regulations.
To address these issues, participants at the First ECOWAS Quality Infrastructure Forum, organized in Dakar in January 2018, recommended awareness-raising and training on quality matters for producers, consumers and political actors.
As a response to this recommendation, a regional training workshop was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) who partnered with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to present the United Nations Guide for Consumer Protection, recently in Lomé, the capital of Togo.
The focus of the workshop was to inform 40 representatives of national consumer protection associations and governmental bodies from 15 West African countries on good international practices in the field of consumer protection with a view to raising awareness on quality matters and ultimately increasing demand for products that are safe and healthy.
“Now we know what role we have to play with the ministry in charge of these matters so that a consumer protection law, acceptable to all, could be adopted.”
The workshop took place within the framework of the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP), funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Speaking at the conclusion of the workshop, Maguette Fall, President of the Association for the Defence of the Environment and Consumers of Senegal, said, “Now we know what role we have to play with the ministry in charge of these matters so that a consumer protection law, acceptable to all, could be adopted.”
Salimata Diarra, President of the Consumers Association of Mali, said “We need to strengthen our partnership with the WAQSP so that the importance of the protection of the individual consumer can be understood by everyone.”
Marcel Kouraogo, Permanent Secretary of the League of Consumers of Burkina Faso, said he planned on his return to “convene a General Assembly with the delegates of the 45 sections representing the 45 provinces of the country to share the major decisions of the workshop and explore ways to implement them.”
- Culled from UNIDO