ARUSHA, TANZANIA: May 31, 2012. On the fringes of the African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings in Arusha, Tanzania, The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) launched its second Africa Capacity Indicators Report (ACIR) to a pan African audience. This year’s report is on the theme: Capacity Development for Agricultural Transformation and Food Security. It follows the inaugural ACIR 2011 – Capacity Development in Fragile States, which was launched in February 2011 in Kigali, Rwanda. Both the 2011 and 2012 ACI Reports have been generously supported by the United Nations Development Programme and the AfDB. In 2013, the third flagship ACIR will focus on ‘Capacity Development for Natural Resources Management’.
The AfDB Annual Meetings provided a timely opportunity to mobilise Africa’s policy makers and development partners on the importance of adopting innovative solutions to the challenges facing Africa. The 2012 ACIR, was earlier unveiled to a global audience in London, UK and Washington, USA, in collaboration with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the World Bank Institute, respectively.
Since its inception, the ACIR has aimed to measure and empirically assess capacity in relation to the development agenda in African countries. It also highlights key determinants and components of capacity for development and how they can be measured. While there is increasing optimism about Africa's development prospects – there still are remaining pockets of challenges that need addressing. Understanding the root causes, impediments, and enablers of Africa's development requires timely and evidence-based data and analysis. Transcending physical achievement to also gauge achievement in final outcomes requires indicators that can measure progress in quantitative and qualitative ways.
The launch event in Arusha presented a platform to not only further highlight the findings of the 2012 Report, but also to share experiences and best practice on policies that work to enhance agriculture transformation and food security. It also helped to increase awareness of the various dimensions of the problem of food insecurity on the continent.
Speaking at the ACIR launch in Arusha, ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr Frannie Léautier, highlighted the main objectives of the roundtable discussion, moderated by Professor Korbla P. Puplampu, Chair of the Department of Sociology at Grant Mac Ewan University in Canada. Joining the Executive Secretary on the panel were Mr Willard Manungo, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Finance representing Hon. Tendai Biti, Minister of Finance, Republic of Zimbabwe and Professor Newman Kusi, Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance, Republic of Ghana.
“The aim of this panel”, said Dr Léautier “has been to provide a platform for discussion and exchange of information, knowledge and experiences on capacity development for agricultural development and food security in Africa. ACIR comes at a time when there is high demand for good data on assessing capacity. - whether it is the capacity to implement complex infrastructure programs, the capacity to attract private sector, investment, or even the capacity to generate jobs and utilise the talents of young people. This report focuses on capacity to transform agriculture and it is our hope that the outcomes will improve the overall design and implementation of policies to improve development outcomes and results”.
The panel focussed primarily on increasing the awareness of state and non-state actors of the various dimensions of agricultural transformation and food security, in order for them to be fully considered in the design of policies. The gathering brought together experts and decision makers concerned with the problem of agricultural change and food security to facilitate exchange of lessons and experiences.
By fostering a shared vision on capacity for the continent and improving understanding of the state of capacity development in Africa, ACBF aims to enhance understanding about these important issues, thereby increasing the ownership and buy-in by key stakeholders on the findings of the report and computed indices.
“The overall goal is ultimately to develop and strengthen strategic partnerships to support initiatives in this area”, Dr Léautier concluded, adding that ACBF expected participants to put into good use the acquired information and knowledge to develop better solutions to the problem of agricultural transformation and food security on the African continent.
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