Cablegate: Ecowas and Phytosanitary Program Proposal

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




FAS/USDA for Roxana Henderson

E.O. 12598: N/A
SUBJECT: ECOWAS And Phytosanitary Program Proposal

REF A: State 205212 B: ABUJA 2283

1. (U) On November 25 Economic Counselor met with Dr. Subah,
who handles agricultural programs at ECOWAS. In response to
the questions in Ref A, Dr. Subah reported the following.

2. ECOWAS has been working with the USAID West Africa
Regional Program (WARP) in Accra on SPS policy
harmonization. They have done surveys of SPS policy in eight
countries, and are completing the rest. In the case of
Nigeria the phytosanitary survey is complete, but not the
animal/sanitary survey. They are also planning a conference.

3. Regarding the possibility of taking on funding on a
sustainable basis in the future, he said that in general
ECOWAS was now including a plan for sustainable funding in
all of its action programs. They had recently adopted the
action program for agriculture and it includes a fund to
cover the programs, with proposal to shift from donor
funding to member and user funding.

4. ECOWAS uses two main avenues to coordinate and
distribute information. Each member country has an ECOWAS
office, usually housed in member country ministry, often
either the planning commission, finance ministry or economic
cooperation ministry. ECOWAS has direct working
relationships with the Ministries of Agriculture in each
country. In general though, he said public information
dissemination, and public relations were weak.
Communications in general was another area specifically
targeted for improvement.

5. Dr. Subah said that historically administrative and
financial management had been weak, but currently they were
building capacity in these areas with donor support. In the
past, donor partners did most of the administrative and
financial management of joint programs but this is being
shifted more to in-house management. They did have a
computer/information systems office which was working on
getting in place database for each sector. Many were still
in the development phase, however, and problems with
telecommunications links between countries could be an
issue. Lome had a permanent training center that could be
used to house training programs.

6. ECOWAS is has been in existence for 30 years. Its only
SPS activity is with USAID. If there is a serious problem
the Director of ECOWAS could get engaged in resolving it.
Currently the organization does not train regulatory
officials in SPS issues. Dr. Subah was unsure whether ECOWAS
did regulatory training in other areas, though they did
training for customs officials. They had a meeting at least
annually, and often more frequently, of the agricultural
commission, which is made up of Agricultural Ministers from
member countries. There were similar meetings of the trade
ministers. FUREY

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