President of ECOWAS Commission Dr. Touray Pledges Support to AfricaRice for Rice Production
On November 24, 2023, AfricaRice Director General Dr. Baboucarr Manneh paid a visit to the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, H.E. Dr. Omar Alieu Touray in Abuja (Nigeria). H.E. Dr Touray expressed his commitment to support AfricaRice in fulfilling its mission which is aligned with the Commission's strategic plan to effectively utilize agriculture as a key driver for regional economic development. He also seized the opportunity to praise AfricaRice's efforts to strengthen food security in the region.
AfricaRice Director General emphasized the importance of AfricaRice and ECOWAS cooperation to tackle the issue of rice importation and its impact on food security on the continent especially in the context of present challenges of climate change, regional and international conflicts, rapid population increase, and overwhelming dependence on rice imports.
Both leaders also took advantage of the meeting to revive and reinvigorate the long and valued close cooperation and partnership between AfricaRice and ECOWAS in promoting the development of rice-based agri-food systems in the sub-region, and to re-establish the role of AfricaRice as a technical partner and “Rice Champion” for ECOWAS. Dr Manneh introduced the One CGIAR and its objectives and impact areas for the West and Central Africa (WCA) region to H.E. Dr Touray.
Forthcoming key programs and initiatives
The “REWARD” program – the Regional Resilient Rice Value Chains Development Program (REWARD) in West Africa program is to be funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) with an envelope of US$650 million. ECOWAS would lead the policy component with AfricaRice providing overall leadership of the project. Through this program, both institutions will access resources and participate in its implementation based on their strengths and comparative advantage.
AfricaRice-ECOWAS MoU – A 5-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in February 2015 between ECOWAS and AfricaRice, which allowed at the political and technical levels for the development of the rice sector in the ECOWAS sub-region. Both institutions are considering the signing of a new MoU with the focus placed on its practical implementation.