Re: Topic 2 - What are the information gaps and related capacity gaps?

Koffi N. Amegbeto FAORAF, Ghana
09/21/2012 - 10:55

Dear Moderator,

Topic 2 - What are the information gaps and related capacity gaps?

This contribution is based on a recent evaluation in four West African countries but may be valid in other countries in Africa.

Information gap:

  • I concur with a previous contributor (Mr. Gary Eilerts) about reliance on indirect measures of food insecurity.
  • Food security information where it is being collected is not systematically associated with actions, for example, policy monitoring to document the lack of it or changes in orientation. Yet, this joint monitoring facilitate documentation of best practices, lessons learned which could be shared in similar situations, evaluated for possible replication elsewhere or used for advocacy.
  • Food price data, where available is monthly averages and there is a need to verify if value would be added to say, weekly or bi-weekly information. At the peak of food crises decision makers need a high frequency information than monthly.

Capacities

  • Lack of institutional capacity in food security governance which is critical for an effective management of information systems (and their networks) as a mean for appropriate and timely decision making.
  • Need to strengthening capacities to sustain information collection, dissemination and use at national and regional levels. In many cases, the national government seems to take the back stage on these aspects and at times, it appears as if it is the financial and development partners who need such information and therefore, are in the driving seat with respect to generating /using such information.
  • Except few exceptions in Africa, national engagement in the effort is low and insufficient, as a result, human capacities need to be improved (qualitatively and or quantitatively), and financial resources to be levered for continuity and sustainability. Data quality cannot be ascertained in some cases.
  • Needed capacity for decision makers to make the right balance between politics and effective use FSI that would lead to timely response to any emerging food insecurity and nutrition crises.
  • Poor or inadequate means of operation: internet connectivity /infrastructure, IT equipment, and other required tools.
  • As the national systems have difficulties in sustaining their activities, their contributions to regional networks is either nonexistent, weak or ineffective. Regional networks do not have an efficient financial mechanism or capacity to sustain their activities and support decision making at regional level, for example with the Regional Economic Communities.

Many thanks.
Regards,

Koffi N. Amegbeto
Food Systems Economist
FAORAF, P.O. Box 1628
Accra, Ghana