West Africa has its first internationally-accredited testing laboratories

Having a product tested by internationally recognised, accredited laboratories adds value to a product because they guarantee quality - an essential factor in gaining consumer confidence, increasing the competitiveness of companies and integrating new markets.
In West Africa, developing quality infrastructure is a priority measure to strengthen regional economic integration. In this spirit, the EU and UNIDO have been supporting the efforts of the ECOWAS Commission to promote a quality culture in the region for almost 20
years through various programmes. In Côte d'Ivoire, the support to the Environment and Agro-Food Laboratories (ENVAL) has enabled the private entity to develop: "In a few years, we have succeeded in setting up seven laboratories each excelling in its field,"
said the Director General of ENVAL. "The support of quality support programmes in West Africa has been instrumental in this success". In particular, the organization has supported laboratories in the accreditation process according to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard. This accreditation certifies the full competence of laboratories to conduct tests and other calibrations while generating valid results. To date, two ENVAL laboratories have received accreditation and Côte d'Ivoire now has centres with a sufficiently broad scope of  competence capable of providing quality advice and support for new product development. 
For the Director General of ENVAL, "The impact of the programme is reflected in the improvement of our laboratories' practices, the development of customer loyalty and the conquest of new markets such as Carrefour," The Quality Manager of the Carrefour Group in Ivory Coast highlighted that they “have chosen to entrust the testing of our products to the ENVAL group. This choice is due in particular to the reliability of their analyses, the competitive cost of the tests, their optimal delivery times and the good management of their relationship with Carrefour",

In Mali, the mission of the Centre for Research and Training in the Textile Industry (CERFITEX) is to ensure the training of qualified human resources in the industry in general and the textile industry in particular. As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECOWAS Department of Industry and Private Sector has mandated the ECOWAS Standard Harmonisation Mechanism (ECOSHAM) Committees to develop, as a matter of emergency, a regional standard for the manufacture of masks for non-sanitary use intended for the general public. This initiative was welcomed by CERFITEX. The group's work led to the validation, in less than three months, of an ECOWAS Standard (ECOSTAND 082) for the regional production of face masks. CERFITEX has also launched an accreditation procedure for the ISO/IEC 17025 standard for its cotton classification laboratory. Last January, this laboratory received its accreditation by the SOAC (The UEMOA accreditation body). Cotton occupies a privileged place in West Africa. In the UEMOA zone, it accounts for 7% of world exports with four main producing countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali for the 2018/2019 season. The classification of cotton bales, particularly for export, requires the use of laboratories with proven expertise. The laboratory of the Société des fibres textiles (SOFITEX) of Burkina Faso, which received its accreditation in October 2019, can now handle these calibrations. These strengthening efforts can firmly anchor Africa on the path of inclusive and sustainable industrial development and contribute to the achievement of the continent's third decade of industrial development. 

Monday, June 8, 2020 - 04:45

This program is funded by the European Union with the technical support of UNIDO, the implementing Agency

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Commision of the European Union