Africa is not short of innovative ideas and policy. Every year, across the continent, governments, pan-African agencies and businesses launch blueprints that reflect visions for growth.
However, what has lacked is the bridge between these policies and effective implementation.
The African Capacity Building Foundation, in extending its role as the continent’s think tank and engine for capacity building, is the bridge that links ideas and implementation.
One way the Foundation is doing this, is by building the skills needed to turn ideas into reality. In its work, ACBF has found that building skills is not done at the point of implementation; it has to start right at the grassroots, going up.
To this end, the Foundation has invested millions of dollars of financial support to higher education institutions and non-degree training programmes.
The programmes under this support are not randomly selected. They are carefully targeted at the skills that are needed most in the fields of public policy, public sector management, and financial management and accountability. These are the skills needed by Member States in their institutions to help them put ideas in motion on the ground.
Among one of ACBF’s most successful bottom-up skills building programmes has been the Economic Policy Management (EPM) programme.
Under this programme, the Foundation worked with universities in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia to offer the EPM. The results were visible. Of the auditors that took part, 40% were promoted immediately after their training.
Over 600 public and private sector executives, from 12 African countries, benefited from the human capacity development activities of the program.
The skills produced are in demand.
Over 90 percent of the program’s graduates work in the public sector. Almost all ministries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) employ EPM graduates, as do international institutions, business intelligence practices, and the Presidency and Prime Ministry.
At country level, the Foundation cooperates with Member States to assess their specific skills needs. As States work towards their long-term economic goals, they are looking for skills to get the wheels turning on their National Development Plans and Strategies.
To assist, ACBF conducts capacity needs assessments and develops workable implementation strategies that are specific to the unique needs of each Member State.
Building the skills that Africa requires to bridge the gap between policy formulation and implementation, is an ongoing exercise that ACBF is happy to take on.