Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, November 12, 2021. The Fourth (4th) meeting of the Strategic Steering Committee of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) was held from November 11 to 12, 2021 at the Hotel Sopatel Silmandé in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Organised by the ECOWAS Commission, the 4th WACOMP Strategic Steering Committee meeting was preceded by an ECOWAS-UEMOA coordination meeting and a Technical Committee meeting of the Regional component, which took place from 8 November to 10 November, 2021.
In her remarks, Mrs. Maria Pilar PALMERO VAQUERO, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation in Burkina Faso and UEMOA, indicated that while pursuing the objectives set, WACOMP has made it possible to meet urgent needs of the moment, in particular with regard to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, in particular through the introduction of new standards for barrier masks and hydro-alcoholic solutions. She thus underlined the importance of the Programme in supporting post-COVID-19 economic recovery and building the capacities of the targeted value chain actors in the region.
On behalf of H.E. the President of the UEMOA Commission, Mr. Abdoulaye Diop, the Commissioner for Economic and Taxation Policies, Mr. Mahamadou GADO, congratulated the ECOWAS Commission as well as WACOMP implementing partners for the achievements to date. He pointed out that the discussions should allow participants to consider new directions to be given to the WACOMP program in the context of the COVID crisis, in order to mitigate the harmful effects caused by the pandemic. He underlined the readiness of the WAEMU Commission to facilitate the implementation of the Programme.
On behalf of H.E. Jean Claude Kassi BROU, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Mamadou TRAORE, Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion thanked the Government of Burkina Faso, for having accepted to host the meeting and for the facilities provided. He indicated that the WACOMP is already recording some positive results, in particular through support to Business Support Organizations and Regional Business Associations, as well as the development of value chains on Cassava, Mango, Textiles & Garments and Information & Communication Technologies, and quality standards with the technical support of the Standards Technical Harmonization Committees of the ECOWAS Standards Harmonization Scheme (ECOSHAM).
In his remarks, Mr. Harouna KABORE, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts of Burkina Faso, who was represented the Secretary General, Mr. Boubacar TRAORE, thanked the ECOWAS Commission for its support through the Programme. He highlighted the achievements of its national component called: “Programme d’Appui à la Compétitivité des Entreprise du Burkina Faso” (PACAO-BF), which focused on the three value chains of Cottonseed oil, Honey & derivatives and Solar energy. Strengthening these value chains would provide greater opportunity to take advantage of market access provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other partners. In concluding his remarks, he officially declared open the Fourth Meeting of the WACOMP Strategic Steering Committee.
The meeting considered the implementation status of the regional and national components, whilst Togo, Liberia and Guinea Bissau, contributed productively to the discussions through sharing of experiences. At the end of the 2-day meeting, the Committee formulated recommendations to improve both the coordination and the technical implementation of the different components of the Programme.
The participants in the WACOMP Strategic Steering Committee meeting were representatives of the ECOWAS and UEMOA commissions, ECOWAS Member States, Mauritania, the EU and regional implementing partners, which are the International Trade Center (ITC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).