The IFPRI West and Central Africa Office will host an official opening ceremony at its new premises in Dakar, Senegal, on May 17, 2011. This event will bring together a broad range of participants, including dignitaries from the governments of Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria; representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), other CGIAR centers in West Africa, subregional research organizations, and professional organizations; and members of Senegal’s academic, development, and private sector community. During the opening ceremony, Shenggen Fan, IFPRI’s director general, and Maximo Torero, director of the Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division, will participate in a panel discussion on the causes and impacts of rising global food prices and the potential response strategies. This topic is especially pertinent in the West and Central Africa region, which was hit hard by the 2007–08 food price crisis.
IFPRI spends more than half of its resources in Africa. The Institute plays a critical role in the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which has created a strong platform for policy and partnership renewal in the agriculture sector with the goal of raising investments, sustaining growth, and accelerating progress toward poverty reduction. IFPRI researchers actively work with local African decisionmakers and analysts in various countries to provide policy-relevant recommendations and knowledge products to guide implementation activities. In collaboration with African experts, IFPRI has produced more than 100 country background papers on agricultural growth and investment trends and strategic options for poverty reduction. More than 20 countries, including all 15 ECOWAS countries, have adopted national policy documents and investment plans based on this work, and that number is expected to increase. Most of these detailed agricultural investment plans have undergone technical reviews at national business meetings, where potential financing options were also discussed.
In order to offer local stakeholders broader access to the Institute’s public goods and improve its on-the-ground relevance throughout Africa, IFPRI established the West and Central Africa regional office in Dakar, Senegal, and the Eastern and Southern Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This will allow IFPRI to better align its research portfolio with the particular needs of the regions and the individual countries within them. In addition to the regional offices in Africa, IFPRI has a regional office in Asia located in New Delhi and country offices in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Uganda.