In order to contribute to the building of a competitive regional economic union and to promote the Culture of Quality in the region, ECOWAS adopted in 2010 the Common Industrial Policy of West Africa (CIPWA) supplemented in 2013 by The ECOWAS Quality Policy (ECOQUAL).
While implementing ECOQUAL, the ECOWAS Quality Award was instituted the same year. Based on National Quality Awards, this Regional Award is a fine example of the integration and materialization of Community guidelines for Quality Promotion.
Indeed, the ECOWAS Quality Award aims to reward Excellence, particularly in terms of Quality Management in the region. This is why it is companies and organizations that have been awarded the highest distinction at the national level, namely the Diamond or Excellence Award, that are competing at the regional level. I would like to emphasize the judicious choice with regards to the National Awards and the ECOWAS Quality Award standards that harmoniously take after the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) quality management standards, in particular the ISO 9001 / ISO 9004 pair.
This choice has the double advantage:
Finally, a well-thought-out system of categorizing of enterprises according to their numbers opens the way to wider participation. When we know that Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) constitute the bulk of the economic fabric of our region, this approach by categories is of relevance.
Technical assistance for the organization of the first edition of the ECOWAS Quality Award was entrusted to the West African Quality System Program (WAQSP), one of the Commission's flagship programs, financed by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Since January 2016, the WAQSP has begun the implementation of this huge project.
It is within this framework that the harmonized criteria for the National Prizes and the ECOWAS Prize were validated in January 2016 during a regional workshop; framework documents on the Prize have also been published, particularly the Award Manager's Guide and the present Explanatory Notes on the Award.
At the beginning of the Explanatory Notes, you will find information that addresses the Why of the Award. Later, in the interest of transparency, which is essential for a competition of this stature, the Explanatory Notes provide all the necessary information, in particular on organizational rules and conditions of participation.
I strongly recommend this brochure to all economic players in the region and invite all the companies and organizations in our space to participate in this prestigious competition which is theirs.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion