Opinion | It’s time to invest in the continent’s regional organisations

African countries cannot fight climate change acting alone. But Africa’s regional organisations could play a galvanizing role if they had more resources.

AICCRA Director Ana Maria Loboguerrero and CORAF Executive Director Dr Abdou Tenkouano write for SciDevNet ahead of COP27. 

This is a excerpt from the article. Please find the link to the full article in SciDevNet below. 

The next major climate summit is just days away.

Devastating drought across the greater Horn of Africaviolent tensions over natural resources in the Sahel and deadly floods across West and Central Africa are all testament to the fact that — in Africa — the climate crisis is already with us, here and now.

African agriculture — nearly all of which is rainfed — is particularly vulnerable to climate change given that temperatures across the continent are expected to rise faster there than anywhere else on earth.

Decades of progress in food security — driven by partnership, policy, investment, and innovation — has now gone into reverse thanks to the triple challenges of conflict, COVID-19 and climate change.

But African institutions are establishing compelling agenda for action – both on climate and food.

They are claiming greater ownership and agency in setting the priorities for investments and projects that deliver a climate-smart future.


There is a whole kaleidoscope of regional economic, political and sector-specific communities who can set strategy, share knowledge, coordinate finance, and encourage action.

Under the umbrella of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa ( itself a technical agency serving the Africa Union Commission), several organisations bring together agriculture champions — African scientists, private sector investors and international donor partners — to drive forward new agriculture science, technology and innovation.

They believe African agriculture can lift people from poverty and deliver a more resilient future – if only the continent’s relatively weak and fragmented agricultural research systems are strengthened with common goals and tools.

The West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (known as CORAF) is the largest of these organizations, working with 23 national agricultural research systems.

CORAF draws in critical partners like Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) to scale climate-smart agriculture and climate information services to reach millions of farmers.

For instance, CORAF and AICCRA developed the capacity of national organizations to use foresight analysis for climate change, developing response plans for pest and disease outbreaks that spread across regions. Such outbreaks often see almost half of Africa’s crops perish, losing billions in revenue every year.

Together with AICCRA and other partners, CORAF helped design the World Bank’s US$716 million West Africa Food System Resilience Program which works to improve regional monitoring and innovation ecosystems, while speeding up market integration across West Africa, under the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Regional organisations have the vision and the expertise to help solve the climate and food security crises. But more often than not, they lack the resources to do so effectively.