Reading these inputs in addition to the outputs from the first scenario workshop is really quite illuminating and helpful in getting the big picture of the problems and challenges facing each of the three countries.
One of our biggest concerns in the EPIC team is developing climate smart agricultural investment plans that can generate effective and needed change in each country. To do that we are focussing on identifying key “delivery mechanisms” that need to be supported- and this dialogue is very relevant to identifying what those might look like. For example, I’ve been struck by comments for all three countries about the importance of educating and engaging young people as a key means of strengthening current and future capacity to effect change. Likewise, the importance of addressing and reversing natural resource degradation and depletion has come up in the dialogue for all three countries – although here it is less clear what actions are likely to be feasible and effective. We also see that in all three countries there is considerable concern about increasing the effectiveness of institutions to support change – but there are considerable differences in what might be the best solution here.
Comments on Zambia
In many ways the Zambia dialogue reflects the same issues as Malawi (good governance is key to determining the future but difficult to achieve) but the situation in the country is quite different because Zambia is a richer country that has had higher levels of economic growth. The lack of allocation of public resources to smallholder agriculture and particularly needed infrastructure seems very important, as is the issue of weak/poor governance of the private sector. It seems that better management and governance of the mining sector could actually be important to achieving effective CSA implementation in the country, but it is difficult to envision how this might be reflected in a Zambian CSA investment proposal. Is there any possible link between better management of the mining sector and CSA development that could be built into an investment proposal? What would that look like? As with Malawi, in Zambia the question of whether to focus on government vs. civil society as the main implementer comes up – which is more likely to be an effective way of supporting CSA development?
A final issue arising from the responses to the dialogue for building the country CSA investment proposals is the importance of considering that there can be alternative futures in each country and that will have a big impact on the effectiveness of the CSA work. The question is then to structure the CSA investments so it can be effective under very different futures in the country – but that of course is very tricky! One thing I think likely to be effective under any plausible future is strong emphasis on youth education and training and so this should be given some emphasis in the proposals. Improving market governance and positive participation of the private sector seems a key issue in all countries as well, but of course this is more difficult to address through the channel of a CSA investment proposal. To what extent could and should a CSA investment plan facilitate better management of the mining sector in Zambia?
I think we have to be realistic about the role the CSA work and investment proposals can actually play in having a positive impact on larger issues of national development, we do need to think very carefully about the leverage the project and investments could have in promoting desirable future scenarios and be creative in building implementation structures that actually contribute to larger public goods such as effective market governance. More feedback on how this could be done in the specific context of Zambia would be very useful as we move forward in the CSA project work.