This post was written by Tsitsi Makombe and Julia Collins.
Through the 2014 Malabo Declaration, African leaders committed to conduct a biennial review (BR) to track country progress toward achieving commitments aimed at steering agricultural transformation by 2025. With Africa now having successfully conducted three cycles of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) BR, have the results, good or bad, helped to trigger any policy adjustments to ensure that countries stay or get on track to achieve the commitments by 2025?
Anecdotal evidence gathered from key CAADP stakeholders by researchers from the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) points to policy and programmatic changes in several countries following the first and second BRs in 2017 and 2019, respectively. These include the governments of Lesotho and Mozambique recommitting to allocate at least 10% of their national budget to the agriculture sector, the incorporation of BR indicators into national agricultural surveys in Mozambique and Togo and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Niger adopting laws in 2018 to promote private sector agriculture investments. Furthermore, in over 10 countries, governments have established dedicated data clusters, made up of local experts that span the different Malabo commitments, to lead the BR data sourcing and reporting effort. The data clusters have been instrumental in improving reporting rates and data quality in these countries.
Mozambique, in particular, has seen several policy adjustments that government and non-state stakeholders attribute to the CAADP BR. These include enhancements in agriculture sector coordination and planning, revisions to the national agriculture investment plan (NAIP), raising the budget allocation for agriculture and improvements in BR data quality and reporting.
Although Mozambique was on track to achieve the Malabo commitments in the first BR, strong advocacy by civil society around the BR results galvanized calls to action with concrete commitments, by both state and non-state actors, to improve the country’s performance. Mozambique went on to announce its commitments at the 2018 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). Notably, Mozambique issued a decree to formalize and reinvigorate its Agriculture Sector Coordination Committee (ASCC) to ensure commitment at the highest level of government, increased investment in agriculture and improved sector planning and coordination. Following improvements to the ASCC, today the committee operates as a decentralized, inclusive, multistakeholder platform that meets at the national, provincial and district levels. “Today we have that platform at all levels in the country, and it was really a result of the BR,” said Joao Mutondo, professor at Eduardo Mondlane University and a member of the ASCC.
Improvements made to the ASCC enabled Mozambique to revise its second generation NAIP in 2018 through a consultative process with key stakeholders at all levels and align its objectives and targets with those of the BR. The NAIP introduced programs in areas identified in the first BR as needing improvement, including increasing access to improved inputs, developing priority agriculture value chains and reducing and accounting for postharvest losses. “Now we have engaged provinces and districts in the NAIP development process and for the first time they fully owned the process,” said Mr. Duque Wilson, head of Department of Studies and Projects in Mozambique’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER).
The BR also focused attention on the need to increase agricultural investments. Mr. Agostinho Bento, Governance and Youth Empowerment manager at ActionAid Mozambique, recounted how advocacy by civil society after the first BR contributed to the government’s recommitment to raise the agricultural expenditure share to at least 10%: “Those meetings we had with parliamentarians, the Minister of Agriculture and organizations with power to influence, contributed a lot to having the commitment come from the government.”
Agriculture sector stakeholders in Mozambique also used the BR as a spur to improve data collection efforts. Like many countries, Mozambique had significant gaps in its reporting for the first and second BRs. Mr. Wilson said that the ministry was able to add indicators on access to finance, use of improved seeds and postharvest losses to the most recent agricultural survey, which was used to inform reporting for the third BR.
To improve BR data quality, during the second and third BRs, MADER, with technical support from ReSAKSS, established inclusive data clusters covering all seven Malabo commitments with local experts leading the data gathering and reporting process. Civil society has also become more involved, through the clusters, in providing data to inform the BR. “The data that we reported [after] the first report, we were able to see in the second report,” said Mr. Bento.
Dr. Greenwell Matchaya, ReSAKSS-Eastern and Southern Africa coordinator, said that Mozambique’s efforts to strengthen data systems have borne fruit. “By discussing the results of the BR, the shortfalls in their data collection system were brought to the fore… there have been improvements,” with the share of reporting increasing from 75% of BR parameters in 2019 to 91% in 2021. However, filling data gaps remains a challenge. Mr. Wilson and Professor Mutondo called for the establishment of an integrated, multisectoral monitoring and evaluation system collecting data on an annual basis.
The third BR, which launched in March 2022, shows that Mozambique has improved its overall score slightly since the 2019 BR, but the country is off-track to meeting the Malabo Declaration commitments. Efforts are required now to raise awareness of the BR results among country stakeholders and discuss policy and programmatic adjustments needed to improve performance. “We are keen now to develop the action plan for the next BR… we are going to highlight the key areas that need more attention to be on track, to have transformation in the agricultural sector in general,” said Mr. Wilson.
This post first appeared on Agrilinks.