The "high level workshop for the validation of the cooperation agreement of ECOAGRIS regional technical committee" took place at the Faidherbe Hotel from June 29th to the 30th. This meeting was an opportunity to adopt the cooperation protocol between ECOWAS, WAEMU, CILSS, FAO, and the regional partners and members of the ECOAGRIS system.
During the discussions and other debates on the legal and operational framework of this cooperation, the knowledge tools allowing decision-makers to make informed decisions were also presented. A situational analysis of ECOAGRIS was made. ECOAGRIS, which has a sub-regional influence, was born of ECOWAS Commission’s desire to remedy the inadequacies of the information systems of the Community Zone Member States. It works as an integrated information system of the agricultural sector allowing to make available and share information ranging from meteorological data to data on the quality of inputs, including livestock and fish farming. The country delegations took the opportunity to highlight the difficulties they face and strong recommendations were made to the ECOWAS representatives to overcome these challenges.
IFPRI was invited to the meeting to share its experience and expertise. Indeed, the Research Institute deals with a dozen knowledge tools, and one of the latest, the e-Atlas, was presented at the workshop. This platform based on a Geographic Information System (GIS) was designed to help policy analysts and policy makers access and use high quality and highly disaggregated data on agricultural, socio-economic and biophysical indicators, in order to guide agricultural policy and investment decisions. This tool was set up at the initiative of and in collaboration with countries that actively participated in the creation of the platform through national technical teams that were trained in 21 African countries; the objective being, according to Mr. Abd Salam EL VILALY, to "cover all Africa". Mohamed Ahid emphasized the manageability of the eAtlas tool. Indeed, its user-friendly interface facilitates navigation and its handling is easy. The data is downloadable, printable and can even be exported graphically.
The two-day workshop concluded with the unanimous adoption of the cooperation protocol defining the support modalities of the various institutions to the ECOAGRIS project.