In a significant move to tackle the growing 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 worth €20 million. This partnership aims to support the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) and promote agricultural development in the region.

The agreement consists of two key components: the “Local Milk Regional Strategy” and the “West African Food Security Storage Strategy.” The former, with a budget of €11 million, aims to bolster local dairy value chains in West Africa. Meanwhile, the latter, with a budget of €9 million, focuses on enhancing the food security storage strategy in the region. This new agreement increases the total French support for these critical projects to €17 million.


The signing ceremony took place in Abuja and involved Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, and Mr. Xavier Muron, Director of the French Development Agency in Nigeria. The event was graced by the presence of Ms. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, French Minister of State for Development, Francophonie, and International Partnerships, along with Ms. Emmanuelle Blatmann, the Ambassador of France to Nigeria and ECOWAS.


Dr. Touray expressed his gratitude for the extensive technical and financial support provided by France through the AFD, which has contributed to various areas of ECOWAS’s development. These areas include the successful implementation of ECOWAP, the establishment of the regional energy market, advancements in the health sector, and the growth of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).


The French Minister of State, Ms. Zacharopoulou, emphasized that the AFD’s support reflects collective efforts to address food security and nutrition challenges in the region while promoting economic and social development. She highlighted the essential relationship between stability and development, stating that both are crucial for sustainable progress. France and the EU remain fully committed to supporting regional institutions, particularly ECOWAS.


The urgency of the situation cannot be understated, as approximately 13 million people currently require immediate food and nutrition assistance to avert a crisis. Without significant interventions, this number could rise to 42 million within the next two months. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the partnership between AFD and ECOWAS aims to tackle these challenges head-on.


The project implementation will be carried out by the ECOWAS Commission, specifically through its Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF). The project activities will span across the ECOWAS region, encompassing Chad, Mauritania, and Cameroon.