West Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world due to its climatic, demographic, institutional, economic, environmental and livelihood context. The region is home to over 360 million people, 55% of whom live in rural areas and depend on natural resources for their socio-economic development. Agriculture accounts for 29% of the region's gross domestic product (GDP) and is the main livelihood for over 60% of West Africans.
Climatic, agricultural and market risks make agricultural performance highly volatile, triggering more frequent and severe food crises.
The worsening of food insecurity is attributable to multiple factors that play an important role in reducing per capita food production.
In 2020, an estimated 16.7 million West Africans required immediate food assistance due to a non-typical combination of drought, poverty, high grain prices, environmental degradation, displacement, poor trade integration, and conflict.
The West African region is thus characterized by large-scale vulnerability linked to a very slow increase in the productivity of the food system leading to a reduction in per capita food availability.
Market imperfections (variation and volatility of commodity prices) are one of the factors that contribute to households' food and nutrition insecurity. Indeed, most intra-regional food trade is informal and hampered by numerous barriers to free movement. As a result, food markets are fragmented, making it difficult to adjust to the large variations in local food production that occur from year to year by efficiently distributing food from surplus to deficit areas of the region. Localized food shortages and price volatility are common, while producer prices remain low.
The COVID-19 pandemic is putting additional pressure on the food system, threatening to increase malnutrition and food insecurity among vulnerable populations. The pandemic has caused health and economic crises that reduce access to food - for example, by increasing unemployment and reducing purchasing power - particularly among the urban poor. Fragile countries are expected to experience a sharper decline in growth as COVID-19 exacerbates factors of fragility. The number of people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase significantly, by up to 40 million people, which will have a negative impact on food security in the short and long term.
In addition to its quasi-permanent nature, vulnerability in West Africa is characterized by inequality between social groups. This demarcation is linked to the inability to acquire productive resources. Indeed, great inequalities persist between women and men in terms of access to resources that can improve their living conditions through agriculture - in particular access to land and equipment, credit, markets and advisory and support services.
In response to these findings, the region has made strong commitments to transform agriculture and strengthen the resilience of the food system. Thus, three mutually reinforcing areas of intervention have emerged as priorities for strengthening the resilience of the food system in West Africa:
- Support the productive base of the food system by investing in climate-smart agriculture at the farm and landscape level;
- promote an enabling environment for value chain development and intra-regional trade;
- strengthen regional capacity to manage agricultural risks.
To address these priorities, the region benefits from World Bank funding for the implementation of the West Africa Food System Resilience Program (FSRP).
Brief presentation of the program
Initiated as part of the implementation of the region's commitments, the development objective of the West African Food System Resilience Program (FASRP) is to increase food insecurity preparedness and improve the resilience of food system actors, priority landscapes and value chains in the program areas.
The first phase of the Program covers four (4) countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo) and regional actions carried out by ECOWAS, CILSS and CORAF. The Program is financed by the World Bank at a cost of about 570 million dollars over a period of five (5) years. It is organized around the following five (5) components:
Component 1 (managed by CILSS): Digital Advisory Services for the Prevention and Management of Agricultural and Food Crises with the main objectives of (i) improving decision support systems with demand-driven information services to increase the effectiveness of agricultural and food crisis prevention and management, by integrating data and leveraging science, innovation, and advanced technologies; and (ii) strengthening regional capacity and institutional sustainability, as well as capacity to adapt to climate change.
Component 2 (managed by CORAF): Sustainability and adaptive capacity of the productive base of the Food System whose main objectives are: (i) to strengthen national and regional agricultural research systems; (ii) to strengthen the policy environment for landscape governance (inclusive multi-sectoral policies and regulations to avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation); and (iii) to create/strengthen landscape units under integrated management capable of sustainably achieving multiple objectives (food production, provision of ecosystem services, protection of biodiversity, and improvement of local livelihoods).
Component 3 (managed by ECOWAS): Regional Food Market Integration and Trade whose main objectives are: (i) to support the preparation and implementation of sound regional regulations and policies to facilitate trade in agricultural goods and inputs within and across national borders in West Africa through key corridors, (ii) to consolidate the food reserve system; and (iii) to support the development of strategic regional value chains, with the potential for tangible positive impacts on regional food security and nutrition.
Specifically, the activities to be carried out by the ECOWAS Department of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources are as follows
- Facilitate trade across major corridors and consolidate the food reserve system:
- Oversee the development and implementation of the ECOWAS Agricultural Trade and Market Scorecard (EATM-Scorecard);
- To strengthen and operationalize the ECOWAS West Africa Rice Observatory by improving its capacity for coordination, data collection and regular communication on rice value chain development;
- Stimulate harmonization of regional agricultural trade policies on critical food system resilience issues;
- Support ECOWAS multi-stakeholder policy dialogue and consultation. The FSRP will support ECOWAS' facilitation capacity to organize inclusive mechanisms for multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultation, negotiations related to the continental free trade area and the World Trade Organization (WTO);
- Improve the performance of regional food security reserves at all three levels (local, national and Regional Food Security Reserve - RFSR).
- Support for the development of strategic and regional value chains:
- Improving the organization and financing of strategic regional value chains;
- Promote agricultural competitiveness and market infrastructure, through support to regional agricultural trade platforms;
- Strengthen multi-stakeholder coordination and promote an enabling environment for the private sector.
Component 4 is the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC), which is a funding mechanism for eligible expenditures in the event of an emergency precipitated by a natural disaster. Activating this component allows for the rapid disbursement of funds to reduce infrastructure damage, ensure business continuity, and recover more quickly from a disaster. Following a major disaster, the affected participating country may request the World Bank to channel resources from other PRSF components to the CERC. As a condition of disbursement, an Emergency Response Manual (ERM) will be developed for each country, stipulating fiduciary, safeguard, monitoring, and reporting requirements related to the use of the CERC, as well as any other essential coordination and implementation provisions.
Component 5 (managed by ECOWAS): This component concerns the management of the Program which will delegate the technical work under components 1 and 2 to the relevant mandated organizations (mainly CILSS for component 1 and CORAF for component 2). Component 5 will ensure effective management of the Program and careful monitoring of performance and impact.
In order to effectively coordinate Component 3 of the program, ECOWAS plans to mobilize a consultant, an expert in regional integration and trade policy to strengthen the PRSP coordination team.
The consultant will be based in Abuja, Nigeria, in the Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) of the ECOWAS Commission.
The present terms of reference describe the conditions for the recruitment of this consultant within the framework of the FSRP.
The expert will be responsible for the coordination and implementation of activities under Component 3 "Regional Food Market Integration and Trade" of the FSRP.
Reporting to the Regional Coordinator of the FSRP, the expert will be responsible for the coordination of all technical activities of the FSRP both at ECOWAS and in the countries. He/she will thus be responsible for (a) coordinating all technical work carried out by ECOWAS in the area of trade and regional integration of agri-food markets in relation to the regional policies defined by the Commission and (b) closely coordinating all technical work with the PRSF coordination units in the countries.
In this role, the expert will be responsible for the following tasks:
- Operationalization of the Scorecard in collaboration with technical partners (organization of a meeting to present the ECOWAS Trade and Agricultural Market Scorecard mechanism, definition of an implementation strategy, conduct of activities, etc.);
- Support for the preparation and implementation of regional policies and regulations to increase regional flows of agricultural goods and inputs;
- Support to the ECOWAS Interdepartmental Committee on Agriculture and Food to initiate legislation and regional cooperation on sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) and implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and ECOWAP;
- Support for ECOWAS multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultation on trade policy instruments;
- Support for the restructuring, governance and financing of value chains identified by countries;
- Support for coordination/collaboration between different donors involved in financing this theme of trade and agri-food market integration;
- Preparation of the annual work plans and budget and the annual technical and financial reports of the FSRP component 3;
- Contribution to the production and dissemination of communication materials related to the activities of the PRSF and in particular Component 3;
- Contribution to FSRP teamwork at the regional and national level;
- Other related tasks necessary for the implementation of the Program.
Qualifications, experience, skills
Have a university degree (BAC + 5 years at least) in the field of rural development ( agriculture, livestock, forestry, ...), economics, agro-economics, management, or any other related discipline .
Additional training in public policy analysis, trade and regional market integration.
The applicant shall:
- Proven experience of at least ten (10) years in the development and implementation of public policies related to trade and market integration;
- Experience in a regional project funded by the World Bank or other international partners is an asset;
- Experience working in the West Africa region is desired;
- Experience working with a regional institution or organization in West Africa is a major asset.
- Knowledge of the agricultural sector and food and nutrition security in the West African region;
- Have a good knowledge of regional agricultural policies (ECOWAP and PAU) and trade policy instruments of the region (trade liberalization scheme, customs union);
- Have a good command of the development and implementation of agricultural and food policy documents at the national or regional level;
- To have the capacity to put in place the instruments/tools of governance of the regional integration of agri-food markets;
- Demonstrate an ability to build and support dialogue on trade policy instruments among various actors and institutions;
- Have excellent technical writing skills, particularly regular reporting in accordance with World Bank and other TFP requirements;
- Ability to communicate and work in French and English, knowledge of Portuguese is an asset;
- Experience in a regional project funded by the World Bank or other TFPs is an asset.
General conditions for the position
Location, duration and start of the mission
- The Expert will be based in Abuja, Nigeria, at the Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development at the ECOWAS Commission with frequent travel to the Regional Agriculture and Food Agency (RAFA) in Lome, Togo;
- The duration of the assignment is for the life of the Project after a six-month probationary period; A consultant contract will be signed for renewable 12-month periods over the life of the Project subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory performance and the needs of the Project;
- The start of the mission is envisaged for the second quarter of 2023;
- The position is full time;
- The Consultant is expected to refrain from any situation that could place him/her in a conflict of interest in the context of the assignment.
Eligibility and qualifications
The ECOWAS Commission, through the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) hereby invites natural persons to express their interest in providing the required services by providing information demonstrating that they possess the required qualifications and relevant experience to carry out the mission. Qualification and experience criteria better described in the terms of reference.
The attention of interested consultants is drawn to Section III, paragraphs, 3.14, 3.16 and 3.17 of the World Bank's "Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers", July 2016 ("Government Procurement Regulations"), which sets out the World Bank's conflict of interest policy.
The application file consists of:
- A cover letter, including the availability period.
- A recent curriculum vitae detailing professional experience and similar assignments.
- Three professional references (first and last names, current functions, functions at the time of the collaboration with the Consultant, email and telephone contacts);
- Copy of the highest degree in accounting/finance or management.
- Copy of the certificates of work or service rendered, listed in the curriculum vitae.
A consultant will be selected according to the individual consultant selection method described in the "Procurement Regulations." of the World Bank. An interview to assess knowledge, skills and abilities may be arranged with the best candidates. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. For equal skills, female candidates will be privileged. RAAF reserves the right not to act on this advice.
Request for further information
Interested consultants can obtain further information by writing to the following e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "SCI005- FSRP-expert integration regional"
- Deadline for receipt of applications: April 23rd , 2023 at 5:00 PM GMT
- Submission links: Entries will be submitted by download to Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/request/z0EfYJ5vbMnOpDLp9oZO
- Application format: The application must be in the form of a PDF file.
RAAF reserves the right not to consider applications that do not meet the above submission requirements.