Dramatic change has been happening in Africa for at least the past decade. Much of the progress can be attributed to the revived focus on agriculture as a driver of inclusive economic growth through the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). The CAADP was initiated through the 2003 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa and sought to achieve Millennium Development Goal One (MDG-1) to halve the turn of the century levels of extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.
The main goal of the 2003 CAADP is to help African countries attain higher rates of inclusive economic growth through agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector-led development that eliminates hunger; reduces poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition; and enables the expansion of agricultural exports. National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans (NAIPs) were developed by countries between 2009 and 2014 to support the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 1 in particular.
Despite some progress, the growth has been unequal and not sufficient to significantly reduce food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty. These elements speak directly to Sustainable Development Goal 2. In 2014, the 23rd AU Assembly adopted the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. The Malabo Declaration speaks directly to achieving SDG2. Countries are currently revising their first CAADP NAIPs and developing their next five-year investment plan.
Alignment is needed to ensure that these plans will contribute to achieving the Malabo commitments and SDG-related targets. Working with ReSAKSS (the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System), a team from the University of Pretoria has been translating lessons from policy analysis conducted through the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy to supporting the building of capacity of national teams and 24 expert resource persons; developing tools to support NAIP analysis and design; and conducting reviews of draft NAIPs (Malawi, Liberia and Nigeria reports are available online) to support strengthening their alignment with Malabo commitments in the area of food security and nutrition.
Some of the initial lessons from the reviews include observations that many revised NAIPs lack:
- Alignment with national development frameworks (national development plans) and other sectoral policies, programs and strategies.
- A theory of change or pathway to progress that links the actions to the impact required (achieving the Malabo outcomes). As a result, there are seldom impact indicators, taking targets beyond program outputs and outcomes.
- Indicators that align with the Malabo Biennial Review, SDGs and other national targets.
- A well-structured institutional architecture to provide leadership, coordination and accountability. Often a national institutional coordination structure exists, but "sector capture" leads to the NAIP coordination of the NAIP is trapped in the Ministry of Agriculture (or its equivalent) rather than situating entrusting the coordination to high-level coordination and accountability structures in the Office of the President or Prime Minister.
The opportunity to support the African Union’s efforts to support national development efforts has provided an exciting channel to apply academic analysis to directly support greater rigour in analysis, the design of monitoring and evaluation frameworks and greater alignment of emerging NAIPs with international; continental, national and sectoral policies and strategies. The engagement with national teams enables mutual learning between country teams, resource persons and researchers.