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UNFPA regional office for West and Central Africa opens

The new West and Central Africa Regional Office opened its doors on 1st January 2013. Based in Dakar, Senegal, WCARO covers 23 Francophone, Anglophone, Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries.

The realignment of regional offices in Africa is aimed at strengthening the organization's capacity, relevance and efficiency to effectively operate in 46 countries across such a large continent. The move was approved at the UNFPA/UNDP/UNOPS Executive Board Regular Session of 1-3 February 2012, under Decision 2012/3, Paragraph 11 .

"This is an opportunity for West and Central Africa to do things creatively and innovatively. Africa continues to be our biggest challenge with issues like maternal death or HIV prevalence. We need to demonstrate as an organization that we respond to the needs of the countries" - Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

The old Dakar sub-Regional Office has been converted into a full regional office, and the sub-regional and regional offices in Johannesburg have been merged as a new Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, effective 01 January 2013.

The newly-appointed Regional Director Benoît Kalasa met his new WCARO team at the start of January and laid out plans to implement the new regional office as one of UNFPA's Key Deliverables for 2013 set by the Executive Committee.

The Executive Director joined the meeting via teleconference. He underlined his personal support and that of Senior Management to Benoît and the new WCARO team during the change process.

Dr Babatunde Osotimehin said: "This is an opportunity for West and Central Africa to do things creatively and innovatively. Africa continues to be our biggest challenge with issues like maternal death or HIV prevalence. We need to demonstrate as an organization that we respond to the needs of the countries."

Good luck to the new regional office in this adventure of bringing UNFPA closer the people it serves!