Agriculture and Food Security
Through Feed the Future and with implementing partners, USAID/West Africa works to improve food security in the region by increasing sustainable agricultural productivity, regional trade of key agricultural commodities, and capacity of regional agricultural actors. We are enabling West Africa’s public and private sector to improve agricultural and trade policies, regulations and standards, and positioning the region and its member states to become self-reliant and able to adapt to and recover from shocks.
Economic Growth and Trade
We focus on trade competitiveness in global markets as a way to increase the effectiveness of African institutions in promoting a vibrant private sector. Our West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (WATIH) activity is a one-stop shop that partners with banks and financial institutions to provide financial support and business development services, capacity building, and best practices with the aim of making businesses viable and export ready, especially for the U.S. markets through the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). Our support to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) strives to advance their regional agenda to support the free movement of goods and decrease the time and cost of goods to move along key regional corridors, assist countries to implement the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, and increase engagement of the private sector and civil society in trade facilitation reforms, with a particular focus on women and small-scale traders.
The lack of access to reliable electricity at an affordable price remains a key constraint to achieving broad-based economic development for the West African region. Our support to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its specialized institutions, including the countries served by the West Africa Regional Mission aims to improve West Africa’s access to cheap, reliable, secure, and sustainable energy through increased private sector investment.
Our programs promote the sound use and management of the region’s natural resources to reduce poverty and promote stability. We fund activities that enhance regional environmental policy and planning, increase the quality of and accessibility to critical baseline information and best practices, and improve the transparency, governance, and productivity of natural resources in strategically important areas.
Because disease knows no borders, we implement key interventions in selected countries to catalyze the use of quality health services and to address multi-country health issues by supporting the development of regional health policy and the dissemination of best practices and information. We work to ensure progress against HIV/AIDs and other infectious diseases, including responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another key area of intervention is improving maternal and child health, reproductive health, and strengthening health systems in the region.
Democracy, Peace and Governance
Many countries in West Africa face challenges related to governance, democratic processes, rule of law, and weak social safety nets. In response, our assistance supports and strengthens regional and national actors’ capacities and commitment to open, accountable, and democratic governance through strengthening participatory, representative, and inclusive political processes and government institutions; promoting greater accountability of institutions and leaders to citizens and to the law; and building partner countries’ pathways toward stability and peace.
Conflict Prevention and Stabilization
USAID implements conflict prevention and mitigation activities by supporting countries experiencing political crises, demonstrating signs of fragility, or emerging from conflict. Through regional, national and locally driven efforts, the Regional Peace and Governance Office and the USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) support democratic transitions, promote human rights, stabilize areas affected by violent conflict, and build community resilience to extremism. USAID’s iterative programming methodology allows for designing, testing, and adjusting program implementation at a pace consistent with the dynamic challenges facing each country and the evolving regional security and conflict trends.
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) invests in the next generation of African leaders as they foster economic growth, enhance democratic governance, and strengthen civil society structures that will help the continent sustainably grow and prosper. Launched in 2010, YALI is composed of three programs designed to complement one another by providing a variety of resources and avenues of opportunity: the Regional Leadership Centers (RLCs), the Mandela Washington Fellowship, and the YALI Network. Specifically In West Africa YALI has Regional Leadership Centers (RLCs) located in Ghana and Senegal.