Aid Coordination and Alignment: myth or reality?

The case of the ECOWAS regional agriculture policy

Despite its vital importance, West African agriculture is characterized by low productivity and beset with economic, social and environmental limitations. Deep-seated structural reform is needed to meet the food needs of the inhabitants of a region set to double in population by 2050.

The rise in food prices in 2008 and the negative impact on the region’s most vulnerable people gave fresh impetus to the implementation of ECOWAP, the regional agricultural policy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In 2009 and 2010, the ECOWAS Member States drafted national and regional agricultural investment programs, identifying the sector’s priorities and the funding required to achieve them. These programs are provide the framework for interventions in the agricultural sector. They also aim to facilitate alignment among technical and financial partners and to achieve a sector-wide approach. ECOWAS partners and Member States have confirmed their commitment to better coordination.

During the G8 Summit in L'Aquila (Italy) in July 2009, these partners announced substantial financial pledges for agriculture and food security and reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of aid effectiveness.

Based on a study of the process for defining and implementing ECOWAP in Niger, Burkina Faso and Ghana and at a regional level, this report analyzes the factors needed to ensure progress on partner coordination and alignment.