WASHINGTON, April 6, 2011 - The World Bank will now cover most of West Africa to increase agricultural productivity to ensure food security through its multi-country program on the generation and adoption of new agricultural knowledge and technology.
With the inclusion of six new countries – Benin, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo –the Bank’s West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) will contribute to achieving increased economic growth and help reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the sub-region.
The Board of the World Bank approved the third series of the WAAPP’s first phase on March 24, 2011 to include these six countries with a financing of US$83.3 million.
“This program, which now involves 12 West African countries, re-confirms the World Bank’s long-term commitment to generating and disseminating technology and knowledge, building capacity, and fostering regional integration in West Africa,” said Jamal Saghir, the World Bank Director of Sustainable Development for Africa.
The WAAPP is expected to provide a regional framework for countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to collaborate in the implementation of national and regional agricultural strategies for technology generation and dissemination. It will further this collaboration through the development of specialized centers for technology generation and dissemination, which will also serve as regional knowledge-sharing centers.
The newly approved third series of the Program, known as WAAPP-1C, will also provide specific support to the Mano River Union countries to rebuild their adaptive research and technology transfer capacities. This will be complemented by a US$18 million grant from the Japan Policy and Human Resources Development (PHRD) Technical Assistance Program to two of the Mano River Union countries (Liberia and Sierra Leone) to Support the Rice Research and Productivity Development Program. In addition, The Gambia will receive US$5 million from the Food Crisis Core Program to support accelerated adoption of technologies and help mitigate the effect of high food prices.
The four major components of the WAAPP-1C project include: (i) Enabling conditions for sub-regional cooperation in the generation, dissemination, and adoption of agricultural technologies; (ii) Support to National Centers of Specialization; (iii) Funding of demand driven technology generation and adoption; and (iv) Project coordination, management, monitoring and evaluation.
Launched in 2007, the first phase of WAAPP has already shown successful results in Ghana, Mali, and Senegal in setting up centers of specialization for agricultural research and increasing cooperation among researchers and institutions among the participating countries.
The WAAPP will eventually cover all the countries in West Africa that are member of ECOWAS and it will generate social and economic benefits that will spill across national boundaries. The Regional aspect of the program will strengthen the platform for regional policy harmonization. It will provide a regional framework for ECOWAS countries to collaborate in implementing national and regional agricultural strategies for technology generation and dissemination.