By Asmau Ahmad
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has reiterated commitment towards strengthening regional economic relations with the rest of the world, particularly Europe.
The ECOWAS Commissioner of Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Mrs. Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, stated this while declaring open the fifth West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) Strategic steering Committee meeting, on Thursday in Abuja.
She explained that the aim of the programme was to strengthen capacity and competitiveness of goods and services from ECOWAS member states to other parts of the world, without being rejected.
She said that the impact of COVID-19 and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on the region have highlighted the need to strengthen the resilience of economies by focusing on competitiveness that could simultaneously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of production.
This, according to her, will drive innovations in product manufacturing as the private sector, by virtue of its dominant role in economic life of nations, is the main engine of value addition, growth and development.
The ECOWAS Commissioner also said that the regional body would continue to support member states in their efforts and strengthen the capacities of actors along value chains, especially within the framework of WACOMP.
She disclosed that since the commencement of WACOMP, it had supported in strengthening the certification systems of national certification organisations in member countries.
She also said that the programme had provided support for laboratories, including one per each member state, for their accreditation and international recognition.
Earlier, Ms Inga STEFANOWICZ, the Team Leader, Green Economy Co-operation Section, European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said EU would continue to provide capacity building to strengthen capacity of ECOWAS member states in terms of manufacturing and services to be accepted across the world.
The West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) which is funded by the European Union is aimed at providing support to selected value chains at the national and regional levels.
This will promote structural transformation and better access to regional and international markets.
The programme was adopted under the 11th European Union Development Fund Regional Indicative Programme for a total amount of 120 million euros, with the major objective to strengthen the competitiveness of West African countries.
It will also enhance their integration into the regional and international trading system.