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Lessons learned about monitoring the impacts of food and agriculture policies in Africa

05 Jun 2013
The Monitoring African Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) workshop gathered experiences from ten countries

ILRI campus, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
28-30 May 2013

After three years of monitoring the impacts of food and agricultural policies in ten countries in Africa, teams from participating countries met in Addis Ababa to discuss results. Based on their experiences, they made recommendations for improving  the methodology, strengthening national technical capacity, reaching policy makers, and a host of other issues related to policy monitoring.  The workshop was also a unique opportunity for exchanging experiences and sowing the seeds for a network of policy analysis experts in Africa. High level officials from FAO, the African Union and UNAIDS attended the meeting and confirmed the need for the type of objective quantitative information about the impact of policies that MAFAP supplies.

Officials from the African Union, FAO and UNAIDS attended the MAFAP meeting. They highlighted policy makers’ need for quantitative information on policy impacts and their support for MAFAP. From left to right Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel, Director of the Department for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union (AU); Mr Modibo Tiémoko Traoré - FAO Representative to the African Union, Economic Commission for Africa and Ethiopia; Dr. Amadou Keita - UNAIDS Liaison Office to the AU

Specific discussions focused on setting up MAFAP teams, ensuring ownership, policy dialogue, capacity building, the methodology and administrative issues. A more detailed report with all the lessons learned is being prepared, but highlights from the discussion included:

  • Rigorous methodology is the core of MAFAP and its robustness is a condition for credibility. Strengthening capacity in MAFAP’s national partner institutions is fundamental for making the methodology sustainable and ensuring countries’ ownership of the results.
  • The quantitative information supplied by MAFAP is of great value in helping policy makers objectively understand the impact of their policies and of public spending on agriculture. However their awareness that this information is now available needs to be raised. Suggestions for doing this included organizing a high level policy event to present MAFAP findings to national policy makers and finding national partners for policy dialogue.
  • Ideally MAFAP should be fully integrated into ongoing policy processes, especially into monitoring and evaluation processes.  A participant also remarked that MAFAP has no pre-conceived objectives and therefore fits well with efforts to promote multistakeholder dialogue to support national goals.
  • National partners should own the results and then make sure they feed into the policy dialogue in their countries.
  • Strategies for improving access to data, especially disaggregated data, are essential. These include working with  institutions involved in data collection and management, as well as building stronger links to  ongoing initiatives related to agricultural statistics such as CountrySTAT.
  • Finally, to make MAFAP sustainable, national technical capacity needs to be developed further with training, exchanges, including MAFAP modules into academic curricula and developing a pool of trainers.

A full report of lessons learned from the workshop will soon be posted on the MAFAP website: www.fao.org/mafap

For more information see:

  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website OECD website NEPAD website OECD website US Aid website World Bank website