About us

Who we are ?

The Agricultural Market and Trade Department of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (French: Comité permanent Inter-État de Lutte contre la Sécheresse au Sahel, abbreviated as CILSS) has for mission to strengthen and expand the fluidification of trade in agricultural and agri-food products and the development of trade in the Sahel and ECOWAS. CILSS is working in 17 countries that include all the 15 ECOWAS member countries, plus Chad and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The new ECOWAS Regional Investment Plan continues to focus on intra-regional agricultural trade as the main driver of economic growth, employment and food security. The agricultural activities of trade data collection, trade barriers data collection, advocacy, trade facilitation supported by USAID, has been operational for about 10 years, with CILSS Agricultural Market and Trade Department assuming responsibility in 2013 to ensure continuity.

The ECOWAS Informal Trade Regulation Support Programme (ITRSP abbreviated as PARCI in French) is implemented by the ECOWAS Trade and Customs Department and CILSS through a joint Technical Secretariat, aims to ” help increase intra-regional trade as part of the construction of the common market and poverty reduction in the ECOWAS region.

ITRSP is structured around four results : (i) reliable and up-to-date information on informal trade is available, (ii) the institutional capacity of stakeholders involved in informal trade and their involvement in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of policies relating to the development of intra-regional trade is strengthened, (iii) reforms which are essential to the elimination of barriers to the development of formal trade are initiated, (iv) incentives are put in place to facilitate the migration of informal sector actors to the formal sector.

The main implementing partner of intra-regional trade activities is the West African Association for Cross-Border Trade, in Agro-forestry-pastoral and Fisheries Products (WACTAF) in French Association Ouest Africaine du Commerce Transfrontalier des produits Alimentaires, Agro-sylvo-pastoraux et Halieutiques (AOCTAH). This association created in the auspice of ECOWAS and CILSS including several regional and internal organizations as observers.