Putting policies into practice: institutional challenges and opportunities

At the second Brussels Briefing on ‘Advancing African agriculture‘ , James Tefft of FAO stressed that the work done on the AAA communication, the World Development Report, and the CAADP has given us a clear analytic foundation to address the constraints on African agriculture.

Sub-Saharan Africa already has comprehensive framework for coherent food security and agriculture policies, thus the problem is not the content of policies, but how we put them into practice.

Iinstitutional issue and innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa are the real challenges. The key question is how can we collaboratively work with the different actors and issues. In Mr. Tefft’s view, monitoring and “distilling lessons” is the problem. We are not capturing the critical factors for success and we still need to better understand how governance factors affect behaviours from village through to continental levels. Active learning should be ubiquitous at all levels, with the involvement of all actors.

Providing some examples of institutional challenges of opportunities, Mr. Tefft underlined the linkages – or lack of – between emergency and development, noticing the need to better connect responses to emergencies with longer term development actions.

He also highlighted a story from Mali where a cotton producing organisation provides fund for a nurse in a community health centre. This shows there are many community-driven innovative solutions taking place all over the continent. These can provide valuable lessons.

There are also important institutional issues at the regional level. An assessment of food security early warning systems shows that some regional organisations perform better than others, in terms of methodological support, comparative analysis across countries and providing a discussion forum.

To move forward, regional organisations have to clearly identify the needs and priorities of member states, and put in place mechanisms to act upon these interests.

Implementation is the real challenge.

Links:

Presentation

Summary of Presentation (doc format)

EC communication on Advancing African Agriculture

World Development Report 2008

See more from the 17 October briefing

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