Abuja, 29th September 2020
The West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) held a virtual meeting on Textile and Garments Value chain on the 29th of September, 2020 with a view to coordinating targeted actions along the Textile and Garments value chain.
Insufficient investment within the region and competition from more developed countries has contributed to the decline of a previously vibrant Textile and Garment industry in West Africa. However, in parts of Africa, the industry is experiencing growth, creating skilled and unskilled jobs and helping drive Africa’s industrial transformation.
WACOMP aims to support several selected value chains, at both national and regional levels, to promote structural transformation and better access to regional and international markets, taking social and environmental concerns into account.
Declaring the meeting open, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector, Mr Mamadou Traore, who also chairs the programme’s Strategic Steering Committee, highlighted WACOMP’s capacity to support ECOWAS’ efforts in re-launching the economy of the region in the wake of the social and economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Represented by the Principal Programme Officer for Industry, Dr Kemji Ajoku, the Commissioner urged participants to build on the achievements recorded so far by the Programme, such as the adoption of regional quality standards for non-sanitary face masks and hydroalcoholic sanitisers, and strengthen regional and national coordination.
Thanking the Member States and implementing partners for their technical and financial support, Commissioner Traore expressed high hopes that the outcome and recommendations of the meeting will improve the competitiveness of the Textile and Garments Value Chain.
The Representative of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Commission and Director for Private Sector, Ms Khady Evelyne Denise N’diaye congratulated partners and commended the leadership of the ECOWAS Commission for the achievements of the Programme so far. In her remarks, she placed emphasis on the importance of the textiles and garment value chain for the economic development of the region.
Earlier, the Representative of the European Union (EU) and International Cooperation Officer from the EU Delegation to the Federal Republic of Nigeria & ECOWAS Ms. Inga Stefanowicz, recalled the importance of the Programme in fostering regional integration. She stressed how the Programme can respond to needs of the region during the period of the pandemic and quoted the development and adoption of harmonised ECOWAS standards.
The meeting also featured presentations on the regional Component of WACOMP with a focus on initiatives on the Textile and Garments value chain in West Africa by International Trade Centre (ITC), as well as on the results of the study on quality issues by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
Adopted under the 11th European Union Development Fund (EDF), the Programme is also aligned to support the implementation of the West African regional policies and programmes, including the West Africa Common Industrial Policy (WACIP), West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Private Sector Development Strategy.
Participants at the meeting included representatives from ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions, the EU, ITC, UNIDO – National Components (Focal Points in ECOWAS Member States & Mauritania and implementing partners) – Regional and National Quality Infrastructure Institutions, as well as key actors of the Textile and Garment value chain.
After making contributions to further improve the process, participants were sensitised on the approach to be used in supporting the competitiveness of the textile and garments value chain.