Championing Evidence- Based Regional Agricultural Policies and Mutual Accountability

In 2003, African countries came together with a common vision to accelerate Africa’s growth through agriculture- led development. Out of this vision, the African Union launched the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)—a policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth, and prosperity  for all of Africa by addressing key policy and capacity issues affecting the agriculture sector. More recently, African leaders adopted the Malabo Declaration in 2014, which outlines seven commitments for transforming agricultural growth and development on the continent. These include committing to end hunger, reduce child malnutrition, and halve poverty by 2025; boosting intra- African trade; enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems; and holding a biennial review to ensure mutual accountability for actions and results.

IFPRI leads the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), a key initiative supporting CAADP, in close collaboration with USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Ministry   of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Established in 2006, ReSAKSS serves as a vital resource for the implementation of CAADP by giving countries and regions access to quality data, knowledge, and tools that are crucial to strategic policy and investment decisions. To date, 42 countries and 4 regional economic communities have signed CAADP compact agreements containing specific commitments to agricultural investment. Thirty of these countries  successfully underwent rigorous technical reviews of their national agriculture and food security investment plans with analysis and support from ReSAKSS. The investment  plans have allowed 17 African countries to secure a total of US$612 million as of 2015 from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a multilateral mechanism designed to improve incomes and food and nutrition security in low-income countries by boosting agricultural productivity through addressing the underfunding of countries’ strategic investment plans in consultation with donors and other stakeholders  at the country level. Building on earlier country-level work, USAID and IFPRI began setting up in-country networks for continuous data and evidence generation through the Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (SAKSS) in 2012. By mid-2016, 13 countries had launched  this  country-specific  program.  Starting  in 2015, ReSAKSS worked to equip all SAKSS platforms with a country eAtlas, a mapping tool for accessing and utilizing disaggregated agricultural, socioeconomic, and biophysical data in order to improve data systems, policy design, and evaluation. Policy makers can use the tool to monitor and prioritize agricultural policies, interventions, and investments. A total of 21 eAtlases have been developed for SAKSS platforms.

To help transform commitments into tangible results, ReSAKSS worked with the African Union Commission and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency to develop  the CAADP Results Framework 2015–2025, which is designed to track progress in meeting the expanded targets set by the Malabo  Declaration. Agricultural joint sector reviews (JSRs) are an integral  part of mutual accountability and provide a platform for the CAADP biennial review. Since 2014, ReSAKSS has conducted JSR assessments in 17 countries and with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  to evaluate the quality of agricultural review processes and develop action plans for establishing more regular, comprehensive, and inclusive JSRs.  Recommendations from the assessments have been incorporated by countries with ongoing JSRs such as Ghana and Malawi, while other countries, including Senegal and Burkina  Faso,  have  developed  new  JSR  processes  that  reflect best  practices.

To  further  strengthen  regional  and  national  capacity, the IFPRI-led African Growth and Development Policy (AGRODEP)  Modeling  Consortium  was  launched  in 2011. The consortium is positioning  African  experts to take a leadership position in analyzing and developing solutions to the broader, pressing agricultural growth questions facing African countries. Since its launch, the consortium has grown to 183 individual members from 27 African countries, 30 percent of whom are women, who receive trainings and access to research grants, data, and economic modeling tools.

Moreover, USAID has been a part of a broader donor network supporting the growth of CAADP and investing in strategic priorities outlined by countries through the Feed the Future initiative. As a partner to both  USAID and CAADP, IFPRI has been delivering research, capacity  building,  and  communications assistance to Feed the Future. An example of IFPRI’s support to Feed the Future is a highly influential study on the  maize export ban in Tanzania. The prime minister of Tanzania said in his keynote speech at the conference “Accelerating Agricultural Transformation in Tanzania through Partnership” that “the research [by IFPRI] provided clear and convincing evidence on the export ban.” In 2012, the Government of Tanzania lifted the ban as  the  study recommended.