The West African Common Industrial Policy (WACIP)

The vision of the WACIP is to “maintain a solid industrial structure, which is globally competitive, environment-friendly and capable of significantly improving the living standards of the people by 2030.”1 In its bid to achieving this, it has the following specific objectives:

  • Diversifying and broadening the region’s industrial production base by progressively raising the local raw material processing rate from 15-20% to an average of 30 % by 2030, through support to the creation of new industrial production capacities and the development and upgrading of the existing ones;
  • Progressively increasing the manufacturing industry’s contribution to the regional
    GDP, currently at an average of 6-7 %, to an average of over 20 % in 2030;
  • Progressively increasing intra-Community trade in West Africa from less than 12% to 40 % by 2030, with a 50% share of the region’s trade in manufactured goods, particularly in the area of energy (equipment, electricity, petroleum products, etc.);
  • Progressively increasing the volume of exports of goods manufactured in West
    Africa to the global market, from the current 0.1 % to 1 % by 2030, through the enhancement and development of skills, industrial competitiveness and quality infrastructure (standardization, accreditation and certification), particularly in the areas of information, communication and transport.

The WACIP covers 10 regional programmes on which its implementation is based.

  1. Development of micro-enterprises, SME/SMIs and major industries: strengthening the region’s micro-enterprises and SME/SMIs and large companies to be competitive and have access to funding for industrial development.
  2. Industrial research and development Programme (IR&D): This would respond to the problem of inadequate dissemination of research findings within industries and to investors.
  3. Development of regional intellectual property rights (IPRs): Synergies with the United Nations System (UNS) to put in place a regional intellectual property framework are being put in place.
  4. Development of regional financing: Put in place a mechanism for financing industry, including exports of manufactured goods, strengthening cooperation within the region and with African and international industry support institutions, especially in the framework of South-South cooperation.
  5. Business Opportunity Information Management System (ECO-BIZ): This is in order to meet the need of availability of adequate statistics and technical information on production, as well as their communication to users.
  6. Creation of the regional industrial partnership network: The intra-Community and international industrial partnerships will enable the region to improve investment and technological flow, while strengthening public–private partnership; its industrial fabric, local job creation, intra-Community trade and its presence on the global market through the constitution and strengthening of partnerships between national and foreign enterprises, especially SMEs/SMIs.
  7. Infrastructural Development: Involving collaborations with NEPAD with a view to a significantly reducing of the cost of production factors, promotion of the development of intra-Community trade and afford the national economies enhanced access to West African, and global markets.
  8. Standardization, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology Programme (SQAM): The adoption of high-level industrial standards and guarantee of acceptable product quality are of capital importance for the expansion of regional trade, just as for exports outside the region.
  9. Managerial capacity and skills development Programme: Training and education programmes for the industrial sector will be developed in West Africa in collaboration with the private sector (professional organizations, employers, etc.) and the regional and international networks (ILO, SFI, IFC, etc.). These programmes will cover a vast array of skills required for industrial development, especially the technical, managerial, and entrepreneurial skills. These activities will not be confined to traditional training but will also bear on continuing enterprise training and detachment of personnel to other companies within and outside the region.
  10. Industry restructuring and upgrading programme: This programme will aim at restructuring and upgrading enterprises to enable them become competitive, upgrading of technical support structures and invigoration of industrial activities by strengthening economic information, development of export consortiums/export promotion networks, promotion of partnership and mentoring, establishment of a system of traceability and support to the informal sector. It will help improve the business environment and facilitate the reinforcement of the coordination of technical and financial partners’ interventions in industry.

The policy was set up in the 2010 meeting of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government with an implementation vision of 2030. Since then, various steps have been taken at ensuring that these programmes initialize. The following are a list of activities so far:

  • In January 2011, a policy meeting was held in order to prioritize the programmes to recognize those for immediate implementation, bearing in mind the 2030 vision.
  • Sensitization workshops in Member States are being mapped out in the following months from April 2011.
  • Hosting the policy guideline on the ECOWAS website as part of necessary communication steps.
  • Conducting new assessments of SME/Microenterprises in the region to discover areas for support.
  • Carrying out capacity building and skills development exercises.