Taking a Regional Approach to Agricultural and Food Challenges in West Africa? Opportunities and Difficulties

Taking a Regional Approach to Agricultural and Food Challenges in West Africa? Opportunities and Difficulties
N°14

West Africa is the region of the continent that has made the largest strides towards implementing a regional agricultural policy. In 2005, it adopted an agricultural policy—the ECOWAP—the necessity of which was reaffirmed by the 2007-2008 crisis that brought back to the foreground the importance of the regional dimensions of agricultural and food stakes within the area. Three mobilising programmes that notably addressed the promotion of agricultural production and improving populations’ access to food were defined after the crisis and have been turned into a series of concrete actions. Despite this progress, States still struggle to fully integrate these regional challenges in their national policies; in most countries, thematic and sub-sectoral investment plans are piling up based on a vision of the agricultural economy operating within the national framework. Without a clear and forward-looking vision of the regional dimensions and challenges of national agricultural systems, agricultural investments have primarily been guided by an approach focusing on individual countries’ self-sufficiency. This brief attempts to analyse consideration of regional challenges in national agricultural investment plans (NAIPs) and identify the opportunities that a truly regionalised approach to agricultural prospects would offer.

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