West Africa is a highly diverse region in terms of climate and agricultural production potential, as well as the distribution of vulnerable populations. In general, the northern regions of coastal countries and the landlocked Sahelian countries are relatively food insecure and impoverished. Additionally, rapid urbanization in the region is leading to increasing numbers of urban poor. The population in this region is expected to grow 100 percent between 2010 and 2050, compared to the global growth rate of 38 percent. Population growth combined with low increases in productivity could further tighten resources and increase food insecurity.
Chronic undernutrition and food availability are core challenges to food security in West Africa. Critical gender concerns related to food security include the inability of women to hold on to land and to make decisions regarding household expenditure and consumption, as well as women having less capital than men.
Through Feed the Future, USAID is working to improve food security by increasing sustainable agricultural productivity, regional trade of key agricultural commodities, and capacity of regional agricultural actors. Our programs seek to:
- Increase sustainable agricultural productivity to expand food supply
- Reduce trade and transportation barriers to promote regional integration of staple food markets
- Improve agriculture and food security policy environment that encourages market-led agricultural development and food security
- Improve nutrition
- Improve food security monitoring and response
Capacity-building for regional public and private organizations and attention to enhancing women’s economic opportunities are integrated into our work. In addition to these objectives, we use our regional platform to improve regional coordination and promote knowledge management and learning capacity on best practices.
Last updated: January 23, 2014