The Economic Community of West African States Commission met in December 2018 for a two-day workshop co-organized by UN Environment and the energy directorate of the Commission, with support from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. In attendance were representatives from 13 of the 15 Economic Community of West African States member countries drawn from the energy, environment and transport ministries, the Commission, UN Environment, the Africa Refiners Association, the International Council for Clean Transportation, the University of Nairobi and CITAC Africa.
In her opening remarks, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in Côte d’Ivoire, Kaba Nassere, reiterated the country’s commitment to reducing sulphur in fuels. She encouraged participants to discuss the harmonization of fuel and vehicle standards, considering an “Economic Community of West African States for the people, not just a body of states”.
CITAC Africa delivered a study of proposals for regional fuel and vehicle emission standards. Participants discussed the proposals and agreed to a maximum of 50ppm sulphur in both imported gasoline and gasoil starting on 1 January 2020. A waiver was also proposed for refineries to allow for refinery upgrading up to 1 January 2024. In addition, participants agreed to a minimum of EURO IV/4 or equivalent vehicle emission standards for all new vehicle registrations. The products of the meeting will be presented in an Economic Community of West African States inter-ministerial session in 2019 for endorsement. With the endorsement, the region is set to be the first in Africa to have harmonized vehicle emission standards. The region will also be the second in the continent to harmonized fuel quality, after the East Africa community.