High-level discussions in Burkina Faso

IEC Affiliate Secretary encourages active involvement of Western African countries

By Sei-Yun Park

One of the objectives of the IEC Affiliate Secretariat for 2012 is to enhance participation and involvement of Western African countries in IEC work. The joint IEC and ISO regional course on adopting and referencing International Standards, which took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 26-28 March 2012, was a good opportunity to meet with several Affiliates from the region.

Photo Groupe VF master
Participants in the ISO/IEC regional course on adopting and referencing International Standards...

IEC Affiliate Secretary visits the Burkina Faso NEC

The first visit made by the Affiliate Country Programme Executive Secretary, Françoise Rauser, was to the Burkina Faso NEC (National Electrotechnical Committee) in Ouagadougou.

Burkina Faso established its NEC in March 2011 with the support of a broad range of stakeholders, including utilities, regulators, consumers, electrical devices retailers, army, telecommunication and universities.

Françoise Rauser met with these stakeholders to help them get involved in IEC work through the Affiliate Country Programme. She talked about the IEC and its standardization activities, its three CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems and also reviewed the history of Burkina Faso as an IEC Affiliate Country.

Rauser’s visit was highly motivating and the NEC took immediate actions. Its members were assigned a series of tasks – to search the IEC website and identify the NEC’s areas of work and needs for IEC International Standards – to be discussed in a stakeholder meeting.

Involving stakeholders

For any Affiliate country, the role of stakeholders is essential in selecting the IEC International Standards that will best meet their country’s needs.

Rauser had the opportunity to meet with Siengui Apollinaire Ki, Director General of SONABEL(Société Nationale d’électricité du Burkina), one of the NEC stakeholders. The objective of the meeting was twofold: enhance SONABEL’s participation in the NEC and promote the use of IEC International Standards. Rauser strongly emphasized the advantage of adopting and using International Standards as national ones, making reference to the ISO/IEC adoption course of the previous days. She also presented the IEC technical committees for renewable energies, rural electrification and electrical energy efficiency, all of great interest to SONABEL.

Support from the Minister of Energy

Through François Zougmoré, Rauser had the privilege to meet Salif Lamoussa Kabore, Minister of Energy and a former Director General of SONABEL. The Minister talked about the issues and challenges his country is facing, including oil prices – consumption prices have been blocked since 2006 – and the need to develop renewable energy resources in the coming years.

Following Rauser’s presentation on the IEC and its activities, the Minister promised to give his full support to the NEC and to François Zougmoré. He encouraged their efforts to get involved in IEC work.

IEC and ISO regional course

After the first joint IEC and ISO regional course on adopting and referencing International Standards in Singapore in February 2011, IEC and ISO organized a second regional course, in Burkina Faso, on 26-28 March 2012. The event was hosted by the Burkina Faso Affiliate.

The objective was to raise awareness on the benefits of adopting International Standards as regional or national ones, and on national obligations under the WTO (World Trade Organization) TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Agreement regarding the use of International Standards as basis for technical regulations, and in accordance with ISO/IEC Guide 21, Regional or national adoption of International Standards and other International Deliverables.

IEC Members and Affiliates and ISO Members participated with 27 representatives from 15 French-speaking African countries. The IEC was represented by several African Members – Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia – and Affiliate countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Senegal and Togo.

Reaching out to the region

Two UEMOA (the West African Economic and Monetary Union) representatives, Koffi N’Goyet, Director per interim of the Programme for standardization and quality promotion, and Adélaïde Belemsigri, in charge of standardization and quality, also attended. 

All UEMOA member states are IEC Affiliate countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. Since five of these countries have a low participation level in the Affiliate Country Programme, Rauser met the two UEMOA representatives to stimulate and encourage their participation. The next step would be to get Côte d’Ivoire, which holds the Secretariat of UEMOA CT (technical committee) 10 on electrical and electrotechnical products, to work more closely with the IEC Affiliate Secretariat. The ultimate goal is to pave the way for the adoption of standards in all UEMOA countries and later on at the regional level. This should help the Affiliate Secretariat to meet its objective of stimulating all non-active Affiliates in the region.

Photo Groupe VF master Participants in the ISO/IEC regional course on adopting and referencing International Standards...
DSCN2700 master ...that took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
burkina_faso_ouagadougou-t2 A view of Ouagadougou with the Monument to the Martyrs of the Nation