Brussels, 25 March 2015/ ACP: Cotton producing ACP countries are gearing up to implement an updated road map for the development of the cotton sector across the African continent over the next decade, following a major meeting for stakeholders in Cotonou, Benin, earlier this month.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the EU-Africa partnership on cotton, investors, experts, producers and traders gathered alongside representatives from the African Union, regional organisations, ACP Secretariat, EU Commission, and UNCTAD to take stock of the past decade of the partnership and agree on a way forward.

Stakeholders focused on how to update the Pan-African Cotton Road Map (PACRM) – a continental strategy to strengthen regional cotton value chains forged in 2012 – in order to align it to the AU’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as well as better engage regional and national agendas.

The revised strategy will be renamed the “Pan-African Cotton Agenda” (PACA) and kick off in early 2016.

“The meeting came up with a framework and timeline to update the PARCM and agreed on an operation scheme that would allow for joint implementation of the road map for the next ten years. This involves strengthening of the capacities of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and professional organisations and textile industries in terms of institutional implementation and performance,” said Yao Adingra, ACP Secretariat’s expert in commodities.

The alignment process of the road map to CAADP is expected to be completed by the next meeting of COS-Cotton, the Steering and Monitoring Committee of the Africa-EU Partnership on Cotton.

Active sources of funding will be sought from African and international financial institutions, nationa and regional agricultural investment plans (NAIPs/RAIPs), the EU-Africa Partnership on Cotton, South-South cooperation frameworks, and other donors.

The discussions took place in a series of meetings over the 9th to 11th o March, held under the theme " African Cotton at a Crossroads". This included the third Steering Committee meeting of the Support Programme for the consolidation of the Action Framework under the EU-Africa Partnership on Cotton; technical workshops; and the 20th COS-cotton meeting.

Two half-day sessions were devoted to the Pan African Cotton Road Map.

(Photos: Participants at the cotton meeting in Cotonou.)

– ACP Press