Plans for Greater Rapprochement Between CORAF, CEMAC and ECCAS Approved

Plans to engage the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) have been endorsed. Meeting in N’djamena, Chad, at its 13th General Assembly, the delegates heard and validated a new strategy that seeks broadly to engage most of the central research and development actors in Central Africa.

CORAF is Africa’s largest sub-regional research coordination instrument. It has the mandate of its members to work in Central and West Africa. And while it has historically supported national agriculture research systems in Central Africa, evidence shows that CORAF has invested more in West Africa. As a result, CORAF has undertaken actions in recent years to increase its footprint in Central Africa, not only as a demonstration of its commitment to be responsive to the needs of its constituents but mostly because science is critical to unleashing the agriculture economy.

“The leadership of Central African countries and institutions have not ceased calling on CORAF to increase its presence in the region,” said Dr. Abdou Tenkouano.

“What you have seen in the discussions and approval of this document is a sign of CORAF’s ability to be responsive to the demands of its key constituencies. Today, therefore, marks a turning point in our history with the Central African region.”

So, What’s in the Strategy?

The new strategy summarizes CORAF activities in Central Africa until recent years, provides information on the state of research and development in Central Africa, and captures the agriculture policies of the region. The strategy suggests potential areas of collaboration between Central African actors and CORAF and ends with recommendations to both CORAF and regional economic communities.

What are the Actions to be Undertaken by CORAF?

In the short term:

  • Meet with the new ECCAS Commission team to learn about their new vision and strategy, and also to present CORAF, its achievements, its strategic, scientific, and operational vision, and its willingness to resume cooperation with ECCAS;
  • Appoint a CORAF Focal Point within each CORAF member institution who will serve as a relay in the promotion and dissemination of the technologies developed for the sake of the visibility of its actions and in improving communication;
  • Organize regular missions in the countries to meet not only the DGs and the Ministers in charge of Research, but also those in charge of Agriculture and Livestock, Economy and Finance to integrate their concerns for the development of the sector and to take into account the need to fund the activities of NARSs and CORAF;
  • Building on the Memorandum of Understanding between ECOWAS and ECCAS of 2018, organize on an annual basis, in a capital city of an ECCAS country, a large Generated Technology Fair in the two sub-regions, technologies that can be adopted by these countries, in order to show the added value of CORAF in terms of facilitating the development, transfer and exchange of technologies. The private sector’s contribution and TFPs can be sought for this purpose.

In the medium term:

  • Support ECCAS and the Department of Environment, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development (DERNADR) in the revision of the CAP, NAFNSIP, and in the development of strategies to create an enabling environment to accelerate the transformation of agriculture, link production to markets (domestic, sub-regional and international) and strengthen regional integration institutions (PRASAC, CARBAP); 
  • Strengthen ECCAS’ capacity to address barriers to cross-border trade in agro-inputs and technologies. They include: (i) harmonized regional policies and regulations, (ii) regional market development for targeted products, and (iii) regional and national institutional capacity building;
  • Support CARBAP to avoid it collapsing by organizing, in partnership with Cameroon (host country), a meeting to bailout this nice tool for regional research and scientific cooperation, involving member countries, CEMAC, ECCAS, PRASAC, traditional TFPs (EU, WB, ADB, IITA and CIRAD), PROPAC and the private sector (Plantations des Hauts Penja);
  • Develop prospective research themes and produce policy briefs to inform and influence policy on current and future priorities and issues in Central Africa.

What are the Recommendations to ECCAS

In the short term:

  • Revise and sign a new Partnership Agreement to replace the version of 2008, taking into account the new challenges and current priorities of ECCAS: Covid-19, Climate Change, Youth Employment, Agricultural Transformation, Livestock and Aquaculture, Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Water Management, among others;
  • Establish a Technical Monitoring Group for the implementation of the ECCAS-CORAF Partnership Agreement, involving the governments of ECCAS countries, CEMAC, PRASAC, and CARBAP. This group could have a virtual meeting at a frequency to be determined and a physical meeting once a year when the security and health situation (post-COVID) permits;

In the medium term:

  • Initiate the development and implementation of large-scale regional projects involving the countries, CORAF and potential PTFs, on current priorities such as: climate change, water management, youth employment, agricultural productivity in a context of physical and biological risks, notably COVID-19 and possible pandemics;
  • Analyze with CORAF, INRAs, PRASAC, CARBAP, the private sector, APOs, and BDEAC, the strategies for the mobilization of policy-makers and TFPs to secure funding from internal and external resources in order to develop important programs for the sustainable agricultural transformation of Central African countries.

The CORAF Secretariat has now been tasked to implement the strategy and take all necessary approaches to ensure it is turned to action.

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