Advocacy and partnership brokerage


To elevate the profile of livestock, generate more support for the sector and promote collaboration among livestock development stakeholders to address systemic sector-wide bottlenecks at national and regional levels.


The agenda for livestock development has dramatically changed over the past several years, as have the types of institutions involved and the demands they face. Consequently, livestock R&D can no longer be left only to traditional players using old approaches to meet new demands. New relationships with a broader range of stakeholders and new types of institutional capacities are required.

West Africa’s livestock potential is underexploited and there is a clear need to champion the cause of livestock and to raise its profile on development, research and policy agendas to a level that reflects its economic and social contribution. A better understanding of the policies that are most relevant to the livestock industry, including those that affect trade, is crucial. WALIC will work to create a more enabling policy and investment environment for livestock in West Africa. It will invest in advocacy, working through existing and new partnerships, some formed specifically for that purpose.

There is also a need to coordinate currently atomized initiatives among technology development agencies, donors, investors and value chain groups. R&D donor coordination at regional level remains weak at best and private sector investment in R&D is essentially non-existent. There is currently no organization in West Africa with a mandate or capacity to broker partnerships for the livestock sector.

Partnership building, among stakeholders and across countries, will catalyze national and regional capacities, harness synergies and limit duplication. As a partnership broker, WALIC will be an active intermediary between different organizations and sectors (public, private and civil society) to facilitate collaboration or to improve the quality of collaboration in specific initiatives or as an ongoing process to meet specific common goals.

WALIC will identify opportunities for partnerships and help parties to recognize partnership potential. The Centre will also be a convener, facilitator, knowledge and information provider, networker and network builder, partnership incubator and mentor. In effect, its role will be as process designer and manager as well as behind-the-scenes leader.

Multi-sector partnerships for sustainable development are complex. Because they require establishing functional relationships between individuals who often come from radically different working cultures with real or perceived competing interests, they take considerable time and effort, both to establish and to nurture to maturity. To date ITC, like most publicly funded R&D organizations, has focused on building and managing its bilateral partnerships with other public R&D institutions (including government research and extension services and national and international NGOs). WALIC in its redefined role will also need to explicitly engage both civil society and the private sector.

Main challenges

Examples of challenges that this theme will address include:
  1. How to improve public sector, private sector and donor investments in animal agriculture.
  2. How to make livestock value chains functional, transparent and beneficial to small-scale producers. Specific issues include inefficient marketing channels, lack of (reliable) market information, weak agribusiness management skills and an absence of economies of scale and voice of producers.
  3. How to make smallholder livestock keepers more competitive and facilitate their entry into higher value local, national, regional and global markets.
  4. How to actualize regional and continental trade in livestock and livestock products, facilitating the translation of national and regional commitments to actions.
  5. How to leverage existing R&D capacity (facilities and human resources) in West Africa and to get more done with available capacities while working to improve them.
  6. How to make the various stakeholder groups involved in livestock development work more together effectively.
  7. How to replicate models of successful partnerships from elsewhere.
  8. How to improve donor coordination. As a consequence of a lack of coordination, the potential of the donors (and the institutions they support) to implement priority livestock interventions of relevance to poor livestock keepers has not been successfully harnessed.


Securing reliable access to land, water and natural resources:

WALIC will facilitate regional dialogues on access issues and will identify or commission case studies on how access issues have been addressed elsewhere. The Centre will facilitate policy dialogues and policy review processes. Research will build on case studies from elsewhere (e.g. by FAO & IFAD) that demonstrate how reforms in land and water governance can significantly improve the livelihoods of rural poor. Holistic approaches to land tenure issues are also emerging (e.g. the Global Land Tools Network[1]) that can improve land coordination in various ways. These new approaches also entail unblocking existing initiatives, helping strengthen existing land networks, assisting in the development of affordable gendered land tools useful to poverty-stricken communities and disseminating knowledge on how to implement security of tenure.

Public sector investment in livestock development

WALIC will carry out public awareness and advocacy on the value of public sector investment in livestock development, supported by evidence – e.g. data on the contributions of livestock to GDP and on returns to investment in the sector. Such efforts will make reference to government commitments (e.g. the Maputo Declaration and various commitments made by ECOWAS members, individually and collectively). The Centre will build the capacity of non-state actors for effective advocacy, including the use of available evidence.

Investment coordination

The Paris Declaration Principles provide a framework for bringing donors together. A regional agency with a technical mandate on livestock in ECOWAS countries – WALIC – would have the clout to bring together bilateral and multilateral donors as well as private sector players and NGOs working on livestock issues.

Improving the functionality of livestock value chains

There is increasing recognition not only of the causes of market access challenges, but also what needs to be done to address them. There is an opportunity to facilitate the emergence of value chain actor fora where actors discuss - in a safe space – how to enhance their collective voices to harness market opportunities and their capacity to increase the value and functionality of value chains and for the industry to grow.

Challenges facing cross-border trade

WALIC will undertake studies to gather data and information on current policies and non-policy bottlenecks to cross-border trade. It will convene public and private sector stakeholders to deliberate on actions that need to be taken to implement existing commitments and reach agreement on how progress will be tracked.

Key result areas

Building on lessons from previous projects and new evidence, WALIC will facilitate the generation and/or compilation of evidence - in collaboration with AU-IBAR, ILRI, FAO and other similar organizations – to inform policy and institutional changes. The brokerage function will focus on influencing and incubating strategic, sustainable partnerships that will contribute to national and regional objectives, with a focus on supporting the emergence of functioning livestock institutions and value chains effectively supported by a public sector that takes its regulatory and support roles seriously.

4.1 Creating enabling policy and investment environment for livestock

WALIC will work with businesses and civil society in order to engage the public sector, with the objective of raising the profile of livestock on the development agenda. While an enabling policy environment is crucial, there is also a need for the proactive engagement of stakeholders who provide resources for livestock. These include governments, development agencies and private sector investors. Work in this area will therefore include providing evidence to support arguments for increased public and private sector investments as well as for policy and investment advocacy processes that bring key stakeholders, including donors, together. WALIC will help livestock value chain actors to engage effectively in these advocacy processes. Interventions will also include building stakeholder capacity to engage in positively transforming the performance of the livestock industry, identifying and fostering engagement opportunities, facilitating engagement processes as may be appropriate and ensuring that the right stakeholders are involved and adequately prepared to engage effectively. The key stakeholder groups include: producer groups such as farmers and farmer organizations, private sector input suppliers and service providers, livestock and livestock product traders, aggregators, processors, public sector extension service providers, political and civil service policy-makers, national livestock research organizations, regional and international R&D organizations, NGOs and the ECOWAS Secretariat.

4.2 Partnerships that serve as mechanisms to share and coordinate use of resources and expertise

The role of WALIC will be to bring together R&D institutions, businesses and civil society in order to benefit from complementary resources and expertise and to coordinate different contributions to key development issues. The dissemination and sharing of existing technology, knowledge and information is in these kinds of partnerships. These partnerships will seek to exploit economies of scale in knowledge generation and dissemination, thus helping to build capacity. An important starting point for brokering these partnerships will be a good inventory and understanding of the capacities available in the region – human resources, facilities, and information databases. This will form the basis for the development of regional projects or programmes that lever available capacities and comparative advantages.

4.3 Partnerships to facilitate livestock value chain development

With a specific focus on market access, WALIC will work with livestock producer organizations, helping them to organize themselves and enhance their capacities, voice and bargaining power to be better able to identify and profitably participate in sustainable markets nationally, regionally and globally, as appropriate. These partnerships will aim either to provide access to markets, e.g. through producer groups, organizations or networks, or to help bridge or deepen markets by providing incentives for business investments. The former will be critical for smallholders and other value chain actors operating as individual entrepreneurs or small businesses that do not have the ability to access higher value markets, whether locally, regionally or globally. WALIC will also identify standards and norms that constrain the performance of the industry and will broker partnerships, including with public sector players, that will aim to unlock bottlenecks related to standards. Key partners here will be ROPPA, APESS, CORET and national farmers’ platforms in the region.

On an ongoing basis, this thematic area will pay attention to partnership opportunities that have the greatest potential to unlock livestock value chain and broader R & D bottlenecks and to develop processes for appropriate partnership development and nurturing. Coordination with AU-IBAR will be crucial as it is the lead organization for livestock in the CAADP and is the AU technical agency in charge of coordinating and driving the continental livestock agenda.

To deliver on this role, WALIC will need to have strong brokerage skills internally so that it in turn can help build these skills in partner organizations. However, the organization could start off by using outsourced services from independent intermediary organizations with skills and experience in awareness raising; capacity building; and convening multi-sector processes and managing partnership processes by providing a neutral space and skilled facilitation.