Peacekeeping and stabilisation in the ECOWAS region
News from 2020-06-26 / KfW Development Bank
A major milestone has been reached in the cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the peace and security sector: On 10 June 2020 the financing agreement for the "Regional Stabilisation and Development Fund in Fragile Regions within ECOWAS Member States" was signed between KfW and ECOWAS. KfW is providing EUR 19 million for this on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The international organisation ECOWAS comprises 15 member states in West Africa, in which approximately 370 million people live. The region is caracterised by numerous political and socio-economic challenges - such as high poverty and (youth) unemployment, unequally distributed economic growth, food insecurity, as well as insufficient access to and poor quality of basic social services. This structural instability also increases the vulnerability of the region to shocks and crises (civil wars, terrorism, migration flows, pandemics, etc.), which in turn further impairs economic development opportunities: A vicious circle of poverty and insecurity threatens.
On the other hand, the region with its young population has great potential, and positive developments can also be noted: For example, the governments of all ECOWAS members have now been democratically elected. In order to take advantage of these opportunities and to address the fragile initial situation, ECOWAS and the BMZ have decided in 2019 to set up the "Regional Stabilisation and Development Fund in Fragile Regions within ECOWAS Member States". The individual member states can submit proposals for the fund, for example for the construction or rehabilitation of regional infrastructure, measures to strengthen the private sector and employment, or training for national and local decision-makers. The focus here is on ensuring that the financing is geared to structural stabilisation and sustainable development and not merely short-term humanitarian interventions. Besides KfW, GIZ is also involved in the implementation of the programme.
The Gambia was selected as a pilot country for the project as early as 2019, with the aim of stabilising the still very young democracy by promoting the value chains of horticulture, poultry and fishing and creating employment and income opportunities, especially for vulnerable population groups. To this end KfW has committed EUR 10 million on behalf of the BMZ. The programme promotes progress in all priority areas of intervention of the national development plan and also strengthens confidence in ECOWAS' ability to make a long-term contribution to the stabilisation and sustainable development of Gambia and, in the long term, of the entire ECOWAS region. The successfully launched pilot in Gambia now served as a model for the "large" regional stabilisation fund.