The United States government and the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) are expanding their partnership to support broad-based economic growth and resilience in West Africa.
According to a release issued by the US Embassy in Monrovia, through this new agreement, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged to provide up to US$241 million over the next four years.
The money, the release said, will further regional integration by harmonizing regional policies, regulations and standards that are vital to trade integration, food security and natural resource management.
It will also help to improve conservation and resilient, low-emissions growth for communities and governments to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change.
“And to better manage natural resources; increase regional trade and investment by improving the competitiveness of West African farmers, firms, and the logistics and transport sectors,” it said.
The assistance will be used to increase access to clean, reliable energy and increasing private sector investment in energy; and improve sustainable agricultural activity by improving access to quality agricultural inputs (especially seeds and fertilizer) and increased use of climate-smart agricultural and other productivity-enhancing practices.
The agreement was signed by the USAID West Africa Regional Mission Director, Alexandre Deprez, and the Executive Secretary of CILSS, Djime Adoum.
“Through USAID,” Mr. Deprez said at the signing ceremony, “the U.S. government has supported CILSS for several decades to strengthen the institution and regional development, thus contributing to improve the social and economic wellbeing of the resilient people of the Sahel and West Africa.
“This multifaceted support has promoted regional integration, improved resilience and the development of regional trade and investment. This is in line with the objectives of the agricultural policy of ECOWAS (ECOWAP) and of regional and national agricultural investment programs.”
For his part, Mr. Adoum said that for over four decades, aid from USAID “has strengthened the institutional capacity of CILSS to develop regional and national strategies and to develop tools and methodologies for food security and natural resources management.
“USAID’s assistance has also supported the capacity building of governments, NGOs and civil society in the field of food security and the fight against desertification.”
CILSS was created in response to the devastating drought in the Sahel in 1973. Its five-year work plan (2015-2019) is built on six strategic areas: Food and Nutrition Security; Natural Resource Management and Climate Change; Water management; Access to Markets and Management of Cross-Border Flows; Population, Gender and Development; and Management and Leadership.
The USAID/West Africa regional mission’s goal is to promote social and economic wellbeing advanced by West Africans. Spanning 21 countries, USAID/West Africa designs and implements programs with West African partners to strengthen systems of nonviolent conflict management, support economic growth, and expand quality health services.
The American people, through USAID, provide economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries worldwide.