World Bank scales up food security in West Africa with $315 Million

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The World Bank has scaled up its financing for Food Security with an additional $315 Million to Strengthen the Resilience of Food Systems across West Africa.

food insecurityAn additional two million people will benefit from a second phase of the West Africa regional Food Systems Resilience Program (FSRP-2) which has approved a total amount of $315 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing.

FSRP-2 will support Ghana, Chad, and Sierra Leone to increase their preparedness against food insecurity and improve the resilience of their food systems.

This comes at a moment when it is projected that approximately 38.3 million people in West Africa are estimated to be in a food security crisis, according to a WB statement made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema.

Across the targeted areas in the three countries, FSRP-2 will help to reduce food insecure people by 25 percent; access to hydro and agrometeorological advisory services will be extended to over 400,000 food system actors; and nearly 500,000 producers are expected to adopt climate-smart agricultural technologies.

According to the WB document about 12,000 hectares of land area will benefit from integrated landscape management practices, and intra-regional traded productions in selected value chains will increase by 30 percent.

Ousmane Diagana, World Bank’s Vice-President for Western and Central Africa explained that the new financing will help to increase the effectiveness of agriculture and food crises prevention and management and strengthen the capacities to adapt to climate variability and change.

It will also strengthen the adaptive capacity of the food system’s productive base and make it sustainable and support the regional food market’s integration by linking the beneficiary countries, consolidating their food reserve systems, and strengthening the development of strategic regional value chains.

The WB Vice-President said, “facilitating the trade of agricultural goods and inputs within and across national borders in West Africa is a key element to address food insecurity in the region.”

Boutheina Guermazi, WB Director for Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa, explained that the approval of FSRP-2 and incorporation of Ghana, Chad, and Sierra Leone expands impacts not just of national activities, but of targeted spill-over effects from regional activities.

“We are eager for this innovative programme to maximize its reach across West Africa. With FSRP-2, the multi-phase FRSP programme now amounts to a total of $645 million of IDA (instead of the $570 million initially approved in November 2021).

Ms. Massandjé Toure-Litse, the Commissioner for ECOWAS Economic Affairs and Agriculture said, “multiple shocks, driven by climate change and environmental degradation, weaknesses of the food markets, conflicts and insecurity.”

She said Covid-19 implications, and the Russia and Ukraine war have further deteriorated food insecurity and inflation across West Africa.

“FSRP-2 expands cooperation across the ECOWAS region to ensure food security, now and into the future,” Ms. Toure-Litse stated.

The first phase of the programme (FSRP-1) approved $330 million in November 2021, and it was launched in June 2022 involving four countries – Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Togo.

It also involved three regional organizations ECOWAS; the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel; and the West and Central Africa Council for Agriculture Research and Development.

It was to implement a broad programme to increase agricultural productivity, promote intraregional value chains and trade, and build regional capacity to manage agricultural risk.

It is expected that both FSRP-1 and FSRP-2 will reach a total of 4.35 million direct beneficiaries (including farmers) across West Africa, with focus on women and youth.

The World Bank’s IDA was established in 1960, to help the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries.

Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.

By Francis Ameyibor, GNA

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