Established in 2011 at the same time as the Regional Agency for Food and Agriculture, the ECOWAS Regional Fund for Food and Agriculture is one of the main pillars of the overall institutional and financial framework of the regional agricultural policy, the ECOWAP. It is intended to be funded by the Community’s own resources, supplemented by contributions from donors who plan to channel their resources into regional agricultural programs corresponding to ECOWAP’s priorities.
The signature today, 14 February 2019, of the Agreement between the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Jean Claude Kassy-Brou, and the chairperson of the ECOWAS Investment and Development Bank (EBID), Mr Bashir Ifo, will enable, as soon as possible, the operationalization of this Regional Fund, which will be hosted within EBID.
EBID is already organized to host and manage special funds dedicated to ECOWAS programs: Peace and Development Fund, Telecommunications Fund, Cultural Industries Guarantee Fund, Biofuels Development Fund, etc. This experience permits to propose a management mechanism for the Regional Fund for Food and Agriculture that includes two major requirements, namely (i) to respond to the specific and diverse financing needs of the agricultural sector in complementarity with national financing mechanisms and (ii) to ensure sound management of the funds and ensure transparency in their allocation and use in accordance with internationally recognized management rules.
For the chairperson of the ECOWAS Commission, the Regional Fund is the region’s sovereignty instrument. It will permits to act quickly in response to the needs of vulnerable populations and to undertake development programs based on the real needs of Member States.
This signature will also boost the confidence of the partners who have been waiting since 2011 for ECOWAS to operationalize this Fund and contribute to it.
The contribution from this Fund will thus enable the region to effectively take charge of the development of its agricultural sector.