French Development Agency (AFD) and ECOWAS Collaborate to Tackle Food Crisis in West Africa
The French Development Agency (AFD) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have recently signed a financing agreement amounting to €20 million. This agreement aims to support the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) and address the worsening food crisis in West Africa. The agreement, consisting of two components, was signed in Abuja by Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, and Xavier Muron, Director of the French Development Agency in Nigeria.
Support to the Local Milk Regional Strategy
Under the agreement, €11 million will be allocated to the implementation of the “Local Milk Regional Strategy.” This initiative focuses on developing local dairy value chains in West Africa. By investing in the local dairy sector, the project aims to enhance productivity, strengthen the region’s dairy industry, and create sustainable livelihoods for farmers.
Support to the West African Food Security Storage Strategy
The second component of the agreement involves allocating €9 million to support the West African Food Security Storage Strategy. This initiative aims to improve food security in the region by enhancing storage capacities and implementing efficient food storage systems. By bolstering storage facilities and practices, West Africa can better manage its food reserves and mitigate the impact of food shortages during crises.
Increased French Support for Crucial Projects
This agreement increases the total French support for the ECOWAP project to €17 million. The signing ceremony was attended by Ms. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, French Minister of State for Development, Francophonie, and International Partnerships, as well as Ms. Emmanuelle Blatmann, the Ambassador of France to Nigeria and ECOWAS.
Positive Impact and Collaboration
President Touray acknowledged the significant technical and financial support provided by France through the AFD to ECOWAS. This support has contributed to the implementation of ECOWAP, the establishment of the regional energy market, advancements in the health sector, and the development of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID). The AFD Group has provided a total of €135 million over the past decade, including €75 million in delegated European funds for regional projects and programs addressing critical vulnerabilities and crises in the region, such as food security, livestock and transhumance conflicts, sanitary and phytosanitary surveillance, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable agriculture.
French Minister of State’s Remarks
The French Minister of State emphasized that the support from AFD is part of collective efforts to strengthen the regional response to food security and nutrition challenges while fostering economic and social development in the region. She highlighted the interdependence between development and stability, stressing the commitment of France and the EU to supporting regional institutions, particularly ECOWAS, in achieving these goals.
Addressing Urgent Food and Nutrition Challenges
The pressing need for action is evident as 13 million people already require immediate food and nutrition assistance. Without decisive measures, this number could rise to 42 million within the next two months. The agreement signifies the joint determination to confront these food and nutrition challenges head-on.
Implementing the Project
The ECOWAS Commission, through its Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF), will oversee the implementation of the project. Project activities will extend to the ECOWAS region, including Chad, Mauritania, and Cameroon.