As part of the seventh commitment of the Malabo Declaration, African Union (AU) Member States agreed to report progress in achieving the Malabo goals and targets biennially. Thus, in recent months ReSAKSS has supported the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency–New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD) in training hundreds of country experts and analysts who are currently hard at work preparing for the second Biennial Review (BR) report, to be published in January 2020. Supplementing the trainings, ReSAKSS performs a constant backstopping role for countries throughout the BR process. As ReSAKSS Coordinator Joseph Karugia indicated, “In anticipation of the country BR reports due this month (June 2019), we expect the phones to be ringing off the hook”. ReSAKSS regional nodes will field questions and data challenges from the hundreds of analysts diligently preparing country reports. But the June busyness at ReSAKSS “is a positive thing,” says Karugia. “It means AU Members States are taking the BR seriously, improving the quality of their data collection, validation, and analysis.” It means an African continent more attuned to its regional challenges and progress in agricultural development and committed to mutual accountability among countries.
In February 2019, ReSAKSS participated in a BR Training of Trainers workshop held in Kigali, Rwanda and organized by AUC and AUDA-NEPAD in anticipation of the 2019 BR. The training was attended by technical experts from over 20 countries. ReSAKSS experts Greenwell Matchaya, Joseph Karugia, Charles Nhemachena, Samuel Benin, Sibusiso Nhlengethwa, Maurice Taondyande, Stella Massawe, Mohamed Ahid, and John Ulimwengu reviewed the overall BR Continental Roadmap with participants, as well as the Technical Guidelines for Country Performance Reporting. Participants also received training on the online eBR tool developed by IFPRI-ReSAKSS at the behest of AUC, which will improve data entry and reporting in countries, reduce data errors and omissions, and ease the facilitation of backup support from ReSAKSS technical experts.
Following the Training of Trainers event, in March in Accra, Ghana, recently trained Trainers participated in a continent-wide workshop with over 250 focal persons involved in CAADP implementation, such as representatives from Ministries of Agriculture and bureaus of statistics. Trainers worked with ReSAKSS to guide participants through designing BR Implementation Roadmaps for their respective countries and utilizing the new eBR tool once the paper country reporting templates are completed.
Following the BR training, ReSAKSS has been providing technical support to countries to improve data collection, analysis, reporting, and validation. ReSAKSS is also piloting work to improve BR data systems in five countries (Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, and Togo) in partnership with country BR teams and with funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The support involves work to improve BR data accuracy, consistency, traceability and validity through capacity strengthening activities in the countries. As part of the pilot work, ReSAKSS representatives traveled to Kenya in May to support the Kenyan BR team, diving into finer detail on the data collection and analysis methodologies of distinct “data clusters” that feed into the seven Malabo Declaration thematic areas: (i) Re-committing to the Principles and Values of the CAADP Process; (ii) Enhancing investment finance in agriculture; (iii) Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025; (iv) Reducing poverty by half by 2025 through inclusive agricultural growth and transformation; (v) Boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services; (vi) Enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate variability and other related risks; and (vii) Strengthening mutual accountability to actions and results.
Countries are currently implementing their BR roadmaps; collecting data and compiling their BR reports for submission to their respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs) by the 30th of June 2019. The final 2019 continental Biennial Review report will be presented with the Africa Agricultural Transformation Scorecard to African Heads of State and Government in January 2020 at the AU General Assembly in Addis Ababa. According to the 2017 BR Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard, only 20 of 47 reporting Member States were “on-track”, but many countries fell short due to insufficient capacity in data collection and management. ReSAKSS Coordinator Greenwell Matchaya indicated that he expects improvements in the 2019 BR due to the heightened awareness of the BR and efforts taken by some Member States to strengthen data since the first BR. Each country’s capacity to accurately measure and analyze the BR performance indicators is a gateway to understanding the progress Africa is making toward achieving the Malabo agricultural transformation goals and targets. Clear measurement and monitoring of progress among fellow Member States is central to the achievement of Malabo agricultural transformation goals. Through ReSAKSS trainings, backstopping and data management support, we hope to gain a more accurate picture from the 2019 BR. Stay tuned.
By Julie Kurtz.