25 October 2022
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO; International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, IPC-IG; Economic Community of Western African States, ECOWAS.
In West Africa, food systems play a crucial role in the well-being of the population, particularly as many people rely on food-related activities for their livelihoods. These food systems are rapidly evolving, offering new job opportunities and accounting for a significant portion (40%) of the regional GDP and employment, with a particular emphasis on women and youth in farming, processing, packaging, transportation, distribution, and retailing of food products.
However, workers in the agri-food systems of West Africa face several challenges that endanger their livelihoods, including economic instability, conflicts, limited access to resources for production, postharvest losses, and trade restrictions resulting from events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Moreover, due to factors like low and irregular incomes, geographic remoteness, and marginalization, agricultural workers, including fishers, foresters, and pastoralists, are exposed to additional risks like natural disasters and climate change impacts.
In response to these issues, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) collaborated to develop a report analyzing the state of social protection for agri-food systems workers in the region. The report assesses existing social assistance and social insurance programs, evaluates their effectiveness in meeting the needs of agri-food workers, and identifies key challenges faced by countries in the region. Additionally, the report highlights good practices from Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, and Senegal, based on insights from interviews with representatives from these countries.
To further the understanding of the report’s findings and encourage discussion on enhancing social protection for agri-food systems workers in West Africa, a webinar was organized. The event brought together national governments, UN agencies, international and regional organizations, and civil society from the region to discuss the implications of the report and its potential impact on future policymaking.
- Bintia Stephen Tchicaya, Senior Policy Officer for the FAO Sub Regional Office for West Africa, Programme Leader for Social Protection for Africa, FAO Regional Office
- Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS
- Gouantoueu Robert Guei, Sub Regional Coordinator for West Africa, FAO
- Gabriela Perin, Researcher, IPC-IG
- João Pedro Bregolin Dytz, Researcher, IPC-IG
- Nourjelha Mohamed, Researcher, IPC-IG
- Koffi Eugène N’DRI, Director of Planning, Coordination, Project Monitoring and Statistics at the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection, Côte d’Ivoire
- George Kwadwo Osei Ababio, National Coordinator of Ghana Productive Safety Net Project, Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development
- Mahmoud Ali Sako, Coordinator of Mali Social Safety Nets Program Jigisemejiri
- Papa Malick Gningue, Director of the Management of Social Safety Nets Programs, Senegal
- Mr. Marcelino Monteiro, Director of Contributions and Collection, National Institute of Social Security, Cape Verde
Moderator: Ana Ocampo, Regional Social Protection Advisor, WFP