The operational theme for the forum was "Harnessing Agricultural Potentials through Regional Partnerships." The forum featured exhibitions of goods and services from businesses in the region.
"Last year's food crisis served as a wake up call that we neglected agriculture. Now we have to go back to basics and develop the huge agricultural potential that we have in the sub region,' said president of the Ecowas Commission, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
The broad objectives of the forum included:
- reviewing the implementation of the Action Plan adopted at the 1st ECOWAS Business Forum which was held in Accra, Ghana from 29th – 31st October 2007;
- adoption of concrete and measurable strategies and action plans to engage the private sector more effectively in the implementation of integration programmes and projects, particularly those concerning the promotion of agribusiness (e.g. rice production) and food security in the region.
- inform the West African private sector and other partners/investors on the status of regional integration in West Africa, with particular emphasis on current opportunities and frameworks for investment and enterprise promotion including Public Private Partnerships (Agriculture/Agribusiness, SMEs, infrastructure – telecoms, energy, etc) international business collaborations (e.g. ECOWAS – China, West Africa – EU, etc) and trade, to facilitate engagements.
- strengthen regional network associations like the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce, the West African Manufacturer’s Association, Federation of Business Women and Women Entrepreneurs, FOPAO, NEPAD, Business Group West Africa, West African Road Transporters’ Union (WARTU) and the Wet African Rice Producers’ Association.
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- Afrique en ligne 13/02/09 'Food crisis, wake up call for agric revival'