With its unique history, West Africa is home to many diverse cultures. It faces major challenges, though: climate change, cross-border armed hostilities and the emergence and 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) intend to tackle these issues by pursuing set goals in cross-border development and security policy and by advancing the economic integration of member states.
The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, supports the regional civil society and the economic community ECOWAS in their efforts to promote peacebuilding and conflict prevention as well as to build resilient economic and nutrition systems. Another priority is the promotion of sustainable energy resources. With this goal in mind, the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) was established in Cape Verde.
As a long-standing regional priority country of Austrian Development Cooperation in the region, Burkina Faso receives support particularly in promoting vocational training, the craft sector and sustainable rural development.