FAO Regional Office for Africa

Towards the establishment of the African Union Centre of Best Practices for Food Security

In support of the management and sharing of knowledge continent-wide

©FAO

28 November 2016, Addis Ababa - The African Union Commission (AUC) convened a group of stakeholders, including Regional Economic Communities (RECs), development partners and academia at the AUC premises in Addis Ababa to discuss an assessment report for the establishment of an “African Union Centre of Best Practices for Food Security (AU-CBPFS)”. 

The idea of the centre emerged from the Malabo Implementation Strategy and Road Map which recommended the establishment of Centre of Excellence to contribute to the vision of Africa’s Agricultural Transformation.

Facilitated by FAO and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the two-day assessment examined a cross-section of existing Centres of Excellences (CoEs) in Africa to identify critical gaps and areas of improvements to develop a shared understanding of the issues to consider for the development of the proposed AU-CBPFS.

Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC, launched the workshop by stressing that “this centre will contribute to achieving the vision of the Malabo declaration and the AUC is pioneering the establishment of this centre to add value to existing CoEs; enabling them to best practices in the area of Agriculture and Food Security for the benefit of all African nations in their quest to eliminate hunger”

“ This centre should be dynamic and foster exchanges of best practices; at its heart, foster South-South Cooperation and capacity development through innovative information sharing, including exchanging experts, study tours, joint research and sharing technologies”, noted Patrick Kormawa, Sub-Regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and FAO Representative to the African Union and UNECA.

Sharing best practices to eliminate hunger in Africa

The meeting debated the assessment report and its recommendations and agreed that the centre will collect best practices, connect CoEs and support the management and sharing of knowledge continent-wide. The possible functions and shape of the centre will be further developed. A multiple hub and spoke model is proposed, with RECs playing a key role as mini hubs at sub-regional level to help link CoEs and the knowledge they generate throughout the continent.

Joel Nkegna, Advisor on Economy and Cooperation to the Secretary General of Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS), stressed that “we are committed to the process of establishing the centre for Best Practices, which will amplify sub-regional efforts to connect CoEs and the sharing of best practices in order to eliminate hunger in Africa”

“South-South Cooperation needs to be strengthened within the African continent and with others outside Africa. This centre should not be an additional centre, but service to connect, collect and disseminate best practices.  It should not be an ordinary centre, full of bureaucracy, but one that is light and effective to enable the timely and efficient sharing of knowledge to enable us to achieved more”, explained Tchambakou Ayassor, Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, ECOWAS.

Joseph Mpunga, Senior Investment Promotion Officer, COMESA noted “we are ready to be an active partner in this process and agree that there is a long way to go in Africa to achieve food security”.

Next steps include the finalization of the assessment report, endorsement by relevant organs of the AUC, development of strategic framework for the establishment and operationalization of the centre. 

 

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