The 11th CAADP Partnership Platform (PP) meeting opened with much talk on how to translate the Malabo Declaration into concrete actions, results, and impact on the ground. This was the first CAADP PP since African Heads of State and Government made seven specific commitments to transform African agriculture in June 2014, known as the Malabo Declaration. The NEPAD CEO, Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, noted that operationalizing the Malabo Declaration will require reforming Africa’s economic policies and institutional capacities. The CAADP Implementation Strategy and Roadmap (IS&R) and the CAADP Program of Work, that have been developed by the African Union Commission, and the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA), will be the key vehicles for facilitating the translation of both the Malabo Declaration and the CAADP Results Framework into concrete actions, results and impact.
The 11th CAADP PP meeting took place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 25-26, March 2015. The meeting, organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the NPCA, brought together over 400 state and non-state actors to discuss how to operationalize the Malabo Declaration and roll out the IS&R and Program of Work. Participants included representatives from the AUC, NPCA, government, regional economic communities (RECs), farmers’ organizations, development partners, the private sector, women and youth groups, academic and technical institutions, and civil society groups. The meeting was themed “Walking the Talk: Delivering on Malabo Commitments in Agriculture for Women Empowerment and Development” in line with the 2015 African Union (AU) theme on women’s empowerment and development.
The various Malabo Declaration commitments framed the sub-themes of the 11th CAADP PP which were used by participants during plenary and parallel sessions to discuss interventions, capacities, and key actors required to operationalize the Declaration. For instance, a Plenary Session on “Action for Empowering Women for Economic Development through CAADP” identified key interventions for “walking the talk” in the context of women’s empowerment. In particular, delegates underscored the importance of having policies that strengthen women’s capacity to effectively participate in policy planning and budgeting processes, as well as the need to better link policy research to issues that impact women. During a dinner gala on March 25, NPCA launched the Women in Agribusiness Program to support the economic growth and empowerment of African women. And together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), NPCA also launched the Youth Employment Program to create decent employment opportunities for young women and men in rural areas through the development of rural enterprises along strategic value chains.
During a Parallel Session on “Mutual Accountability to Actions, Results, and Impacts,” Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) Africawide Coordinator, set the context for the session by presenting ongoing efforts to strengthen mutual accountability using agriculture joint sector reviews (JSRs). In particular, his presentation showcased assessments to review country JSR or JSR-like processes in order to establish a more comprehensive, robust, and inclusive JSR process. The assessments are triggered by AUC and NPCA and are led by countries with technical support from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), ReSAKSS, and Africa Lead II. According to Dr. Bahiigwa, in 2015, JSR assessments will be conducted in 11 countries, namely Benin, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda and Zambia while technical support will be provided to seven pilot countries which had their assessments in 2014. The pilot countries are: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania.
Dr. Bahiigwa’s presentation was complimented by a presentation on statistics by Mr. Christophe Duhamel of the Global Strategy on Statistics at FAO. Mr. Duhamel highlighted the challenge CAADP poses in terms of ensuring that accurate data are used to monitor agricultural development efforts. Therefore, participants identified the need to i) domesticate the Malabo Declaration at the country level, ii) develop country baselines and common targets, and iii) integrate statistics and other key issues into national agricultural and food security investment plans as some of the key interventions needed to operationalize Malabo Declaration commitment number seven on mutual accountability. In terms of required capacities, participants noted the need for improved statistics, and M&E systems as well as strengthened capacities for effective policy dialogue and evidence-based analysis. All key CAADP state and non-state actors were deemed important for translating the commitment into results, including farmers, civil society, and researchers.
A particularly interesting side event that took place on the margins of the CAADP PP meeting was one organized by NPCA to discuss a draft Guidance Note (GN) on tracking the level and quality of Government Expenditures for Agriculture (GEA). The GN aims to facilitate a comparable tracking and reporting of GEA by going beyond the share of GEA and looking at the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditures. During the side event, participants felt the relevance and principles underlying the GN were clear, but noted the need for indicators of allocative efficiency to be measurable and to clearly consider the time and rigor needed to examine socio-economic returns. In rolling out the GN (and in essence the Malabo recommitment on the 10 percent agricultural budget allocation), participants called for clear time frames, a country driven process that involves all key stakeholders, and better inter-ministerial coordination.
As the PP drew to a close, Mrs. Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong of NPCA and Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel of AUC, assured participants that outcomes of the meeting would be incorporated into the CAADP Program Work and that AUC and NEPAD will continue to work closely with countries and RECs to define and operationalize a program of implementation. Based on all the talk at the PP, 2015 promises to be a busy year of “walking the talk,” – implementing the ambitious Malabo commitments and now the outcomes of the 11th PP into concrete actions, results, and impact.
This article is written by Tsitsi Makombe, Senior Program Manager of West and Central Africa Office, IFPRI.