SWAC news: May-September 2011


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Director's editorial

By Laurent Bossard

The Sahel, and West Africa more generally, has recently been at the focus of media coverage for rather worrisome reasons: the terrorist attack on the UN house in Abuja, the return of armed mercenaries from Libya, the traffic of heavy weapons released from Gaddafi’s arms depots, and the attack on military barracks in Mauritania. […] And yet, despite this rather grim introduction, the region has recently seen many positive and encouraging developments in the field of peace and governance. > read on


Famine in Eastern Africa

Viewpoint by Sibiri Jean Zoundi

Breaking the cycle of food crises in Eastern Africa requires more responsibilities from African governments. Eastern Africa can also draw lessons from the experiences of other African regions, with those of West Africa in particular. > read on...


A new Trans-Saharan co-operation is needed

Viewpoint by Laurent Bossard

In the short-term, it must of course be a priority to “re-conquer” and stabilize the Sahel area so that businesses and people can feel secure. In the long run, however, it is much more difficult and more expensive to militarily control an unsettled area than to develop a vibrant economic area. > read on



G20 Outreach session “Agricultural and Food Price Volatility”

14-15 June 2011, OECD Conference Centre

In the run-up to the G20 summit on agriculture, the SWAC Secretariat, in collaboration with the OECD Directorate for Trade and Agriculture (TAD) and the OECD Development Cluster, invited African representatives and experts to present their viewpoints on the impact of price volatility on African economies. While Africa is particularly affected by the impact of price volatility and high prices, participants underlined that price volatility is a common challenge for all members of the international community. They thus called for decisive action from G20 countries. Moreover, participants made a series of concrete proposals for follow-up actions which were partly taken up by the G20 summit, including  a pilot initiative for a “Regional Emergency Food Reserve” in West Africa. > learn more



SWAC Strategy and Policy Group meeting

15 June 2011, Paris

Strategy and Policy Group Members met to provide feedback on ongoing SWAC work and finetune work priorities. In his opening remarks, SWAC President de Donnea applauded the success of the SWAC’s G20 Outreach session on “Agricultural and Food Price Volatility”, and encouraged the organisation of a similar event next year. According to him, this framework would perfectly respond to the SWAC’s ambition to play a bridging role between West Africa and OECD countries. Governance issues related to the signature of the new Mandate and observer status were also addressed. A discussion on security issues in the Sahel aimed at identifying Members’ priorities in the field of security and development. > summary record

On the left: Maya Takagi,

Brazilian Secretary for food and nutritional security


Sharing experience from Brazil

30 May-4 June 2011, Brasilia, Brazil

SWAC met with Brazilian authorities to learn from Brazil’s experience with bioenergy and food security challenges (“Zero Hunger” initiative, “Action Against Hunger and Poverty” initative, etc.). Biofuels accounted for 26% of Brazil’s 2010 energy consumption (compared to a world average of 2.3%). Brazil believes in West Africa’s potential to develop a strong biofuels industry. It confirmed its willingness to contribute to the 2011 SWAC Forum which is dedicated to renewable energy issues within the context of south-south co-operation, in particular with Brazil. Capitalizing on Brazil’s experience in biofuels, the Forum aims to define a road map towards a regional strategy on renewable energy in West Africa. Brazil currently has co-operation agreements and activities with eight West African countries. Beyond the Forum, SWAC aims to establish a longer-term co-operation with Brazil, in particular with its co-operation agency (ABC), the Brazilian Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security (SESAN) and other Brazilian partners with an interest in West Africa.

Paolão dam

Cape Verde to host the 2011 SWAC Forum

27-29 June 2011, Praïa, Cape Verde

SWAC president François-Xavier de Donnea and SWAC Secretariat Director Laurent Bossard met with Cape Verdean authorities to advance prepatory work for the 2011 Forum, which will be hosted by the Cape Verdean government in Praïa on 5 and 6 December 2011. It also accepted to host the SWAC’s next Strategy and Policy Group meeting and the 27th Annual Meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA). Cape Verdean authorities hope to draw attention to its specific experience as a small, emerging African economy. They have set-up a very ambitious development plan for renewable energy sources, aiming at covering 50% of its energy needs. Moreover, its National Agency for Research in Agriculture is working on an improved Jatropha seed for the production of biofuels. Cape Verde is highly dependant on food imports and thus particularly concerned by high food price volatility.



Towards a partnership wit ECREEE

June 2011, Praia, Cape Verde

The SWAC Secretariat teamed up with the Praia-based ECOWAS Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) that will provide substantial inputs for the 2011 Forum. SWAC and ECREEE are planning to formalise their co-operation through a memorandum of understanding that shall set up a joint work programme for 2012 and kick off the production of a “Regional Atlas on Renewable Energy in West Africa”.




“Feed the Future” initiative: improved coherence with regional strategies

31 May–1 June 2011, Accra, Ghana

USAID's West Africa Regional Mission organised an information-sharing meeting on its “Feed the Future” initiative aimed at mainstreaming activities in response to priorities of the ECOWAS Regional Investment Programme for Agriculture. Various partners involved in USAID’s work on food security exchanged experiences in order to improve the effectiveness, coherence and synergies of their actions. The SWAC Secretariat shared initial outcomes of its West Africa Futures programme on settlement, market and food security. It was also an opportunity to meet representatives of the West Africa Trade Hub and the Agribusiness Trade Promotion Programme based in Accra.



Food security: new funding prospects for the K2M initiative

26-27 July 2011, Niamey, Niger

At the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission’s Donor Roundtable, government representatives from Niger and Nigeria met with development partners to discuss the future of the Kano-Katsina-Maradi initiative (K2M) which was initiated with the support of the Club in 2004. The States of Katsina and Kano expressed their willingness to contribute to the funding of joint projects, opening a window of opportunity for additional funding from international partners. ECOWAS pledged to fund the radio network providing information on cereal markets and ECOWAS laws and regulations.

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