Together in Milan

By Laurent Bossard, Director, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat

“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”:  from May to October 2015, the 49th World Expo will be held in Milan providing a great number of opportunities to share knowledge, ideas, techniques, experiences and innovation. New commitments will be made in Milan, including on food security and resilience issues.

The Sahel and West Africa will be in Milan

Benin, The Gambia and Guinea will showcase their foodstuffs in the fruit and vegetable cluster; Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana will be in the cocoa cluster; Mauritania and Senegal will be present in the area devoted to arid countries; Togo in the area related to cereals and tubers; and last but not least, Sierra Leone will participate in the rice cluster. Will the visitors who come to appreciate the colours and flavours of the Sahel and West Africa become aware that these countries are among the world’s best-performing agricultural producers?

SWAC Members and partners will also be in Milan.

All within a few steps of one another, the Expo walkways can take the same visitor to the pavilions of Austria, Belgium, the European Union, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States. These countries and institutions are – along with ECOWAS, UEMOA, CILSS and Luxembourg – among the pillars of the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC/OECD). The United Nations – some of whose agencies (e.g. FAO, UNICEF, WFP) are particularly active within SWAC and in the region – are at the heart of the Expo. The NEPAD Agency of the African Union and the OECD will be in Milan as official participants.

The SWAC will not miss this opportunity!

More than twenty million visitors are expected at this global event. This is a great means of reaffirming the universal character of food issues, and to remind everyone that hundreds of millions of people, particularly in the Sahel and West Africa, still suffer from chronic hunger, despite the aforementioned progress. Created nearly forty years ago through a joint commitment of solidarity between the international community and the countries affected by the 1973 drought and famine, SWAC must be present at Expo 2015. It will hold its annual meetings within the Sahel and West Africa Week, which will be hosted in the European pavilion from 26 to 30 October.  The SWAC will also be active throughout the Expo, and work to support Sahelian and West African countries, as well as its Members and partners. The SWAC seeks to promote ways of thinking and acting, based on dialogue, objectivity, trust and teamwork. These values are at the heart of the Expo 2015 and this website is designed as a platform for sharing ideas and promoting initiatives. It will evolve during the course of our “common journey to Milan”. All are invited to join in this journey.

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