With its great history, West Africa is home to a diversity of cultures. It faces great challenges, however: climate change, cross-border armed hostilities and the advance of terrorist militias in many of its countries. Regional organisations, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) or the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) have already begun to tackle these issues in pursuing cross-border development and security policy objectives and advancing the economic integration of member states.
The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, supports civil society and ECOWAS in their efforts at peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Another priority is the promotion of alternative energy resources. The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency has been set up on Cape Verde for this purpose.
As a long-standing priority country of Austrian Development Cooperation in the region, Burkina Faso also receives support, above all in vocational training, the promotion of skilled crafts and sustainable rural development.