Global Quality and Standards Programme ends


The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with the Swiss government, through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), has developed an innovative approach to identify quality related activities and challenges in developing countries.

The approach birthed the Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP) which is funded by SECO aimed at improving the competitiveness of twelve countries and a total of 16 value chains.

The programme makes targeted interventions at every stage of the value chain, thereby increasing compliance with international market requirements and thus helping countries engage in global trade.

In Ghana, the targeted value chains for support are cashew, oil palm and cocoa and the UNIDO-GQSP programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI). The project was scheduled to be completed by November 2022 but after the COVID-19 pandemic, a no-cost extension for nine months was approved, hence the completion date fell on August, 2023.

Standards in the oil palm sector will bring transparency and fair trade. All standards developed were done with the Ghana Standard Authority in accordance with national regulation.

The UNIDO Representative for Ghana and Liberia, Stravros Papastavrou observed that the genesis of UNIDO-SECO endeavours in Ghana traces back to the Trade Capacity Building programmes initiated in 2017.

“These programmes were meticulously designed with the goal of empowering Ghanaian institutions in standardization, testing, inspection and conformity assessment”. At every step, these institutions enjoyed close collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, he added.

Mr. Papastavrou went on to stated that under the Global Quality and Standards Programme, the partnership has further cemented the previous collaborative efforts.

Enumerating what the 15-year partnership with MoTI has yielded, the UNIDO Country Representative said Ghana now boasts of an established National Quality Policy. Additionally, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority Market Hub has been inaugurated and a public Management System Certification Body is now operational in the country.

“Furthermore, GQSP has expanded its ambit by enlarging test scopes and bolstering the certification of more SMEs. It has also played a pivotal role in guiding the National Accreditation Body towards international acknowledgement”.

Chief Director, MoTI, Patrick Nimo and Chair, GQSP Steering Committee, said GQSP is one of the programmes actively supporting MoTI in quality standards upgrading. The programme, he noted, is well Factory initiative.

“This alignment has enabled the GQSP to achieve tangible and significant results and build capacities which the government is happy to retain, going forward. A typical example is the electronic platform of all laboratory services available which is designed to improve access to information for compliance to trade requirements”.

The deputy Head of Mission, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland, Dr. Simone Haeberli said global trade is increasingly integrated into value chains and governed by quality standards requirements.

She observed that in spite of trade liberalization and efforts made by developing countries to integrate into the world trade system, exporters from developing countries struggle to gain significant access to global markets.

“This is mainly due to the shift to the shift from tariff measures to non-tariff barriers such as technical regulations, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, standards and market requirements to ensure consumer safety”.

The project inception phase identified the need to develop and/ or revise nineteen standards/documents to enhance the competitiveness of the three selected value chains. A total of nineteen standards are now available for the three selected value chains; these were added to an existing 11 standards in the value chains and all 30 standards were promoted/ promulgated throughout the value chains.

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