ABIDJAN — For the West Africa Regional branch of the United States Agency for International Development, a longstanding priority has focused on collaborating with multinational organizations to create regional solutions to problems facing the 15 countries comprising the Economic Community of West African States.
In this region, flush with natural resources and human capital, limited private investments, poor governance, insecurity, extreme poverty, and even disease and evidences of global warming often stymie development efforts. To address these challenges, the USAID West Africa Regional Mission based in Accra, Ghana, believes it takes a unique regional approach to provide solutions and capacity building tools in countries where there is no country-level USAID mission.
“Many of the issues or challenges that the countries in West Africa face are similar whether terrorism, climate change, trade or health pandemics,” USAID West Africa Regional Mission Director Alex Deprez told Devex. “All of the countries are facing the same challenges and instead of taking each issue piecemeal, through a bilateral approach, we try to look at how these issues affect the region as a whole and help African states come up with common solutions to common problems.”
Devex spoke to Deprez about the role of the USAID West Africa Regional mission in regional development efforts and how it puts youth at the core of its programming. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.