African countries' agricultural capacity 'improves'

ACIR2012_participantsAttendees at the launch of the 2012 ACIR. (Image source: ACBF)The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has launched the 2012 Africa Capacity Indicators Report (ACIR) in London

The ACBF chose the theme of 'Capacity Development for Agricultural Transformation and Food Security' as the agricultural sector still experiences many challenges that prevent the continent from becoming food secure.

Production often lags far behind population growth, resulting in food insecurity and widespread vulnerability and policy reforms have so far brought mixed results.

Measures to boost output have also been affected by limited markets, declining aid, weak value-addition and low world prices for key agricultural exports.

Agricultural growth plays a critical role in Africa's development and the report discusses various issues relating to agriculture in Africa, including land productivity, the effects of globalisation on commodity prices, climate change and rural-urban migration.

"The ACIR aims to measure capacity in relation to the development agendas of African countries,” said ACBF executive secretary, Dr Frannie Léautier, at the launch of the report. “The assessment highlights key components of capacity, determining how these can be measured to ensure maximum impact on development.

"The research uncovers critical factors in the political economy of change, including the long-term commitment of decision-makers to national development goals, and issues of accountability, food security and good governance.

"This is ACBF's second Africa Capacity Indicators Report, aimed at examining the key capacity development issues and challenges facing countries. The issue of agricultural transformation and food security in Africa is strongly linked to capacity development, labour and growth.

"The ACIR has become a definitive knowledge product targeting policymakers, public sector officials, the private sector and civil society, guiding the development of their priorities by providing practical recommendations.

"At ACBF, our primary role is to try to fix the environment in which development results can be achieved. This is our claim and the value we bring to the process – we are in a different place now because of these reports."

In 2012, Ghana moved into the ‘high' category for capacity in the ACI composite index. The composite index measures the policy environment, processes for implementation, development results at country level and capacity development outcomes.

Ghana's achievement is a marked improvement from 2011, when no countries were classified in the 'high' category. The majority of countries have now moved from ‘low’ to ‘medium’ in the development results category and the number of countries classed in the lowest categories has also decreased.

Meanwhile, Namibia has been confirmed as the 37th African member to join the ACBF. The ACBF has invested more than US$13 million in national and regional projects and programmes in Namibia since 1994.

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