The ECOWAS Certification Body for Sustainable Energy Skills is a West Africa's foremost regional certification body established by all ECOWAS countries with the support of IRENA, GIZ and other partners to promote quality assurance at all levels through a regional certification scheme known as the ECOWAS Certification of Sustainable Energy Skills (ECSES) scheme. All the structures and procedures of the ECSES scheme are aligned with the requirements of the standard ISO/IEC 17024:2012 and currently being administered by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in partnership with public and private institutions in the 15 ECOWAS countries.
The Regional Certification Body (RCB) is committed to providing credential programs of quality and integrity for the practitioners and the consumers of the ECOWAS region. RCB understands the importance of impartiality in carrying out the certification functions. The RCB ensures that the objectivity of the ECSES scheme is complete and administers its programme activities to the highest standards. The RCB treats all applicants, candidates, and credential holders fairly and impartially by following the guidelines and procedures. RCB holds all credential holders to high standards of ethical and professional practice. The RCB maintains policies and procedures designed to manage conflict of interests and ensure objectivity throughout the credentialing process.
RCB’s goal is to develop a regional credentialing programs in partnership with its national institutions that will:
- support the development of the enewable energy and energy efficiency market
- provide value to practitioners of the enewable energy and energy efficiency industry
- promote worker safety and skill
- Promote consumer confidence
- The organs and of relational flow chart of the ECSES scheme are shown in figure 1.
Figure 1: Organs of the ECSES Scheme
The RCB's core values are:
- Team work
The regional certification positively impacts:
The candidate’s career through
- increased marketability, ECOWAS acknowledged training and certification;
- enhanced skills, reputation, credibility, & consumer confidence;
- mobility: the certification credentials that provides the “passport” to national and
- regional sustainable energy project, recognition and professional competitive advantage and job market in the ECOWAS region;
The industry development through
- availability of competent and efficient workforce;
- increased credibility and confidence to the clean technology by the potential investors (better system performance and reduced risks);
- satisfied customers (efficient installations, less technical failures, lower operational costs).
- reassurance that practitioners have the competencies and capacities required to complete a job safely and effectively. More specifically, certification is a way to
- promote the quality and safety of systems installations.
- regular training that forces the practitioners to stay current, and work on multiple types of jobs, learn new skills and network with peers.
The establishment of the scheme started with the development of the Job Task Analysis (JTA) for technicians of off-grid solar PV systems. The JTA was presented to stakeholders from seven UEMOA member states in a workshop organized in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso by IRENA and the UEMOA in April 2015. A second workshop was organized in July 2015 to present the draft JTA to representatives of the remaining ECOWAS member states and to gain their commitment for the regional certification program. These two workshops marked the start of national consultation processes with experts from all ECOWAS member states to review the content of the JTA. The results of these consultations were then integrated into the final French and English versions of the JTA for off-grid solar PV systems which were validated at a regional workshop with all 15 ECOWAS member states held in Praia, Cabo Verde in December 2015 and later translated into Portuguese. During this workshop, ECREEE confirmed its willingness to serve as the RCB and participants from the ECOWAS member states suggested Technical Committee (TC) candidates that can support the establishment and operation of the regional certification scheme. As such, in 2017, ECREEE together with its partners developed and validated the framework documents (Guidelines and working documents) for the scheme and formed a Technical Committee with representatives from each of the 15 ECOWAS member states to serve as an advisory group to the RCB and to be consulted at key stages of the implementation and further development of the ECSES scheme. In 2018, the scheme was lauched and becan operation in 2019. The first examination was held in Senegal for practitioners of off-grid solar photovoltaic technicians.
Further information is available in the Guideines for the Regional Certification.
 Job-Task-Analysis (JTA) defines core knowledge areas, critical work functions, and/or skills for RE and EE practitioners.
 The countries represented at the workshop in April 2015: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
 The countries at the workshop in July 2015: Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.