Food security

Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF): 10 Years Serving the Agricultural Development in West Africa and the Sahel

Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF): 10 Years Serving the Agricultural Development in West Africa and the Sahel

Officially launched in Lomé (Togo) on 27 September 2013, the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) has already got ten years in implementing its mandate. To recall, RAAF mandate is to ensure technical implementation of regional programmes and investment plans contributing to the operationalisation of the Regional agricultural policy (ECOWAP) by relying on regional institutions, organisations, and players with proven skills. Members of the RAAF Strategic Orientation Committee had the opportunity to assess this journey at their eleventh meeting, held in Lomé on 25 April 2024.

Over the past ten years, RAAF has been able to coordinate and supervise the implementation of ECOWAP projects and programmes in accordance with its mandate. Several achievements can be seen in the growing number of projects and programmes in its portfolio.

According to the ten-year capitalisation report presented to the members of the Advisory Committee, significant progress has been made in promoting agricultural development and food security in West Africa. Through strategic partnerships with Member States, technical institutions, and development partners, RAAF has facilitated the exchange of knowledge, resources and best practices, empowering stakeholders to address the multifaceted challenges facing the agricultural sector.

Areas for attention include human resource management, cumbersome and complex administrative processes, funding, and over-dependence on donors. Necessary resources should also be made available to RAAF to facilitate improving its communication on the results and impacts of the projects it coordinates.

In the current context of multiple shocks facing agriculture in the region, the role of RAAF is becoming more crucial in developing a more resilient agricultural sector capable of meeting future challenges. This will involve, among other things, strengthening partnerships with external donors and fostering greater collaboration with regional stakeholders. Building on the lessons learned, the successes and, above all, the partnerships forged, RAAF will have to work towards a shared vision of a prosperous and food- and nutrition-secure West Africa, in order to bring about significant change and have a lasting impact on the populations benefiting from its actions.

With rising security issues in the region, RAAF needs to strengthen its visibility and impact by reflecting on the conditions for more effective integration of targeted agricultural policies for the region's development.