Strengthening performance and accountability in African agriculture

  • Client: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Location: Africa

The challenge : Building a performance-based culture for agricultural transformation in Africa

In 2014, Africa’s Heads of State set out a bold vision: to eliminate hunger and transform agriculture for jobs and poverty reduction by 2025. Signed in the capital of Equatorial Guinea, this remarkable commitment has come to be known as the Malabo Declaration.

In a determination to measure progress toward this vision, African Union institutions and partners worked hard to establish clear goals and measurable targets. In all, 47 measures were agreed examining levels of investment, indicators for nutrition, the role of women, use of fertilisers and many more.

To gauge progress, the Declaration committed to a ‘Biennial Review’. This in itself was a bold commitment to accountability; requiring a yearly progress check for all 47 countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first of these reports, presented in January 2018, pointed to the majority of countries failing to remain on track.

Despite the call to action, the report failed to spark the impact it was conceived for. The lack of action revealed the gap between its findings and the means to review performance at regional and country level, and to translate them into concrete recommendations for policy, partnerships, programmes and resourcing. Bridging this gap is key to translating a bold vision into reality for poor people across Africa.

In 2014, Africa’s Heads of State set out a bold vision: to eliminate hunger and transform agriculture for jobs and poverty reduction by 2025.

Our work : Strengthening the performance of AU institutions though a collective approach to the Biennial Review

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seized upon the opportunity to reinforce the findings of the Biennial Review. They commissioned Wasafiri to build stronger partnerships around the Review, to improve communications and coordination, advocacy and policy engagement at continental, regional and country levels. Our work includes;

  • Convening a core group of Heads of State and Governments to champion the process
  • Bringing stakeholders together to establish shared agendas and strategy
  • Overseeing the coordination of effort and implementation of workplans
  • Coordinating communications efforts and managing multiple funding streams

The outcome : Good progress on improving accountability and commitment

The stakes remain high for those who have signed up to Malabo; agendas and political priorities have shifted, and wariness of being held to account risks undermining good intentions. As such, establishing meaningful commitment to the Biennial Review has always experienced one step back for every two steps forward.

Nevertheless, useful progress has been made and positive tipping points are less distant; our partnership work has brought more organizations into the process, our communications efforts have forged the basis for a shared understanding of the opportunity, and our convening work is laying the foundation for a more collective effort toward tackling hunger in the years ahead.

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