Following the success of the West Africa Food Markets Programme (WAFM) financed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by Palladium, the partner grantees of the WAFM Challenge Fund decided to form the West Africa Agri-Business Network (WAAN).
The WAAN Network is a joint initiative by the Palladium Group and 12 West African agri-business firms. These 12 firms have a combined Annual Turnover of more than £25 million and Annual Working Capital needs exceeding £20m, whilst seeking Social Capital financing and investment of £50m.
WAAN supports the growth of these agri-business firms and associated upstream Small Holder Farmer networks and downstream marketing to consumers and off-takers in four member countries:- Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Niger. Once WAAN is launched the network will also seek to identify new members in existing member countries and new member countries.
During the summer of 2019, the West African Agri-Business Network, in partnership with Palladium, laid a foundation for the creation of an NGO in Ghana and an Association in Burkina which is designed to work in concert. WAAN Support Team are based in Accra, Ouagadougou, Niamey and London.
A Co-Chairperson system is in place reflecting the Anglophone-Francophone traditions of the WAAN network and comprising the Honorable CK Humado, previous Minister of Agriculture of Ghana, Member of Parliament in Ghana and member of the ECOWAS Parliament and the Honorable Moise Traore, previously a Joint Permanent Secretary for Agriculture in Burkina Faso. Both Co-Chairs can represent the whole network at key events. Additionally, Djibo Bagnah, based in Niger, is a Political Advisor and well-known lobbyist advancing the cause of Small Holder Farmers in West Africa.
WAAN will field speakers on ECOWAS Cross Border Trade in food products at the AfriExporter events, where the WAAN membership will be well represented. These speakers have successful hands-on experience in meeting and overcoming the challenges of cross border trade in the region
The formal launch for WAAN will take place at the Afriexporter Exhibition and Conference, Lagos 24 – 25 October 2019. The venue is the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos.