Saturday, June 3

Gambia hosts ECOWAS experts meeting for standards renewable energy

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The meeting, which gathered experts from across member countries is currently underway at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center in Bijilo.

It aims to present the already validated document of the standards for renewable energy by the Technical Harmonization Committee (THC 05) for the experts to look at the activities they implemented so that they could also validate it and present it before the ministers for consideration.

In the coming days, the participants will review and validate several documents for the development of standards for off-grid solar products and PV mini-grid and revision of ECOSHAM document as well as regional harmonisation of Standards on THC 01 Agro-products, THC 02 Food Products, THC 03 Chemical Products and THC 09 Information and Communication Technology.

They will also do the regulation of Lead in Paint and the directives of the Automotive Industry.

“These standards are catalytical for the economic growth of the ECOWAS region and give us a sound foundation for the incoming AfCFTA,  Omar Badjie, director of Industry, Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration, and Employment told participants.

“We cannot industrialise without proper standards and as per the AU declaration in 2008 during the Industrialisation of Africa summit, our Heads of State believed that no country or region in the world has achieved prosperity and a decent socio-economic life for its citizens without the development of a robust industrial sector,”

He added that there is already a lot of momentum for change within ECOWAS and its member states in preparation of AFCFTA, saying that they must ensure that advancing the development agenda remains at the forefront of the debates and decisions to be undertaken.

“While here in Banjul, we must avail ourselves the opportunity to advance this objective and to ensure that ECOWAS is fully equipped to take on the challenges of these very critical years ahead.”

For his part, Engineer Yahya Ahmed Bukar, chairman of ECOWAS Technical Management Committee, said that the meeting would help to facilitate trade within the sub region concerning the products once the standards are validated and adopted by the member countries to be implemented.

“There would be a need for the ECOWAS commission to come with sensitisation, because the commission will continue to spend and bring people to harmonise standards and then at the end of the day they are not implemented.”

Meanwhile, the four-day international meeting is in two categories; the experts’ meeting will be held from Monday to Wednesday, while Thursday would be the ministerial meeting for member countries.