The Sahel and West Africa Club is a group of West African regional organisations, countries and international organisations that work together towards the development and integration of the West African region. The Club’s mission is to pool together Members’ experiences, ideas and perspectives to help build more effective regional policies. Drawing on factual studies and independent analyses, the Club devises strategic guidelines and policy tools for Members and other stakeholders. The Club also monitors current events and trends in the region.

The Club is a space for policy dialogue. As a member of the OECD Development Cluster, the SWAC Secretariat contributes to the work of the Organisation and ensures that West African concerns and initiatives are taken into account in global debates.

During the 2013-2014 biennium, the Club will focus its work on two main themes: food security, namely through coordination and support to the activities of the Food Crisis Prevention Network and AGIR, and the future of Saharo-Sahelian areas from a security and development perspective, namely through the West African Futures project.

> West African Futures: Settlement, Market and Food Security

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Origin & Evolution

The “Club du Sahel” was founded by OECD member countries in 1976 to raise international support for and awareness of the drought crises in the Sahel. In response to growing regional interdependence, its geographic coverage was extended in 2001 to encompass all West African countries. The Club was consequently renamed the “Sahel and West Africa Club” (SWAC). Founded on the principle of sharing knowledge and experience, the Club capitalises its resources in support of the agenda and leadership of West Africa’s regional organisations. In January 2011, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) joined the Club as Members.

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Mandate

The Mandate, the Club's strategic framework, specifies the mission, composition, structure and modes of financing of the Club. It is signed by all Members of the Club. > download the Mandate

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Membership

Eligible for membership are:

  • West African regional organisations;
  • West African countries (ECOWAS members, Chad and Mauritania);
  • Development partner countries;
  • International organisations.

> list of current Members

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Governance

The Strategy and Policy Group (SPG) brings together Club Members twice a year to define the Club’s work priorities and approve the programme of work and budget as well as activity and financial reports. Members also ensure the Club’s smooth functioning through their financial contributions (minimum contribution agreed upon by consensus) and designate the Club President. The position is currently held by Mr. François-Xavier de Donnea, Belgian Minister of State. Under the management structure of the OECD Secretariat for Global Relations, the The OECD-based Secretariat is in charge of implementing the work programme. It organises and facilitates the Club Forums, Working Groups and other meetings that capitalise on the experiences and viewpoints of Members as well as West African socio-professional and civil society organisations, relevant OECD Directorates, experts, and representatives from other regions of the world.

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The Club and the OECD

The Club’s relationship with the OECD is defined in a Memorandum of Understanding. Its Secretariat is fully integrated into the OECD, under the management structure of the OECD Global Relations Secretariat. As an active member of the OECD Development Cluster (www.oecd.org/development) and other Africa-related initiatives (www.oecd.org/africa) the SWAC Secretariat facilitates exchanges between West Africa’s regional actors and OECD countries.

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