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Feed the Future: Building Capacity for African Agricultural Transformation (Africa Lead II)

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I. Introduction

Africa Lead — Feed the Future’s Building Capacity for African Agricultural Transformation Program — supports the advancement of agricultural transformation in Africa as proposed by the African Union Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). Africa Lead also contributes to the Feed the Future (FTF) goals of reduced hunger and poverty by building the capacity of Champions — i.e., men and women leaders in agriculture — and the institutions in which they operate to develop, lead, and manage the policies, structures, and processes needed for transformation.

The Bureau for Food Security at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has established three priority areas of agriculture policy change: (1) changes in policies themselves, (2) changes in systems to formulate and implement policy changes, and (3) laying the foundations for the next generation of policy change. By concentrating on building capacity and strengthening processes of individuals, institutions – and networks of both – Africa Lead promotes changes in systems to formulate and implement policy changes in four ways:

  • Evidence-based planning – The extent to which policy, legislation, regulations, and programs are informed by recognizable, objectively verifiable, and reliable sources and processes for gathering relevant evidence or data pertinent to agriculture and food security challenges.

  • Mutual accountability – The extent to which stakeholder groups seeking to improve food security conditions clearly articulate their actions and hold themselves and each other accountable for achieving objectives and learning from achievements and mistakes.

  • Coordination and inclusiveness – The extent to which government ministries, departments, and agencies that play the major role in structuring and governing the agriculture sector coordinate their efforts toward broadly shared goals, and the extent to which all stakeholders believe they have and actually do have a formalized and practical role in policy development.

  • Policy plans/institutions – The extent to which policies are articulated, prioritized, and widely shared, and the extent to which institutions are organized, equipped, staffed, and trained to implement the policies and programs that have been prioritized. This Year Three summary of Africa Lead covers the Program’s key learnings and accomplishments from October 2015 through September 2016. The report highlights Africa Lead’s support, facilitation, and training to improve institutional capacity and broader systems and institutional architecture to manage agricultural transformation as well to promote the effective, inclusive participation of non-state actors in policy processes.

During Program Year Three (PY3), Africa Lead activities also worked to promote and sustain a culture of learning and continue to build a process by which evidence can play a greater role in determining policy directions and programs in agriculture. By design, Africa Lead activities are demand-driven, and the project serves as a flexible mechanism to support various USAID initiatives at the mission and continental level. Africa Lead is truly greater than the sum of its parts, and to appreciate its full impact, individual activities must be viewed within the context of the continent-wide goals that drive them. To illustrate the program’s complex network of activities, Section 2 of this report describes our key lessons learned during PY3 across the project and how this learning has informed our strategic approach, provided an evidence-base for best practice, and revealed insights into how to better accomplish our goals of aligning organizations, policies, and systems around CAADP. Section 3 includes mission-level Year in Reviews, which provide a summary of PY3 activities and performance indicators for each of the project’s buy-ins.