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SAVE THE DATE. AU-SAFGRAD VIDEO CONFERENCE ON INNOVATIVE FINANCING MECHANISM FOR AGRICULTURAL RESESARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA. JULY, 2nd 2020.

 

Video Conference on:

 

Boosting Agricultural Research and Innovation to achieve the Agenda 2063 Target in Africa:

 

Innovative Financing Mechanism for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa “Towards Achieving the African Union’s recommendation of expenditure 1% GDP on Research and Development”

 

Meeting title:

 

Innovative Financing Mechanism for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa

 

Date: 

 

July 2nd 2020

 

Time: 

 

10 am – 12am, GMT

 

Number of participants expected and interpretation service:

 

200/Yes (French and English)

 

 

1. Background

 

Agricultural productivity and growth hold a key to poverty reduction in Africa. Agricultural growth has a significant impact on the rest of the economy. Africa’s leaders see agriculture as an engine for poverty reduction and overall economic development. In 2003, the African Union’s Commission (AUC) launched the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) that describes African leaders’ collective vision on how to reach a goal of 6% growth per annum for the sector. Subsequently, CAADP Pillar IV was launched in 2006 as a strategy to support Africa’s agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption efforts. Later the Malabo Declaration in 2014 stressed again on the need to strengthen technology generation, dissemination and adoption.

 

Agricultural Research and development (R&D) in Africa is primarily funded by national governments and donors with variations across countries. Some countries continue to be highly donor dependent while others are funded through government budget allocations. Donor funding, together with loans, generally supports operating costs and capital investment, but has been highly erratic. In recent years, both traditional and new donors have shown renewed interest in funding agricultural research in Africa. Agricultural R&D has returned as a priority for donors and policy and decision makers. The Heads of State at the 2012 G20 meeting in Mexico, for example, highlighted the importance of R&D in promoting agricultural productivity and food security. The key role of R&D in increasing food production while protecting natural resources was also stressed in the UN post-2015 development agenda. More recently, the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) was adopted at the 2014 African Heads of State Summit, necessitating the development of a continent wide implementation plan. 

 

Although a number of countries have increased their support to agricultural R&D, overall investment levels in most African countries remain below the levels required to sustain viable agricultural R&D programs that address current and future priorities. Africa’s gross expenditure on research and development as a proportion of GDP stands at about 0.5 per cent compared to the world average of 2.2 per cent. Mobilizing domestic political and financial support for agricultural R&D has been difficult. One reason for this is the inherently long time lag between investing in research and attaining tangible benefits. Another reason is that evidence of high payoffs to agricultural R&D in Africa is limited. Alene (2010) finds a 10-year lag between agricultural R&D expenditure growth and agricultural productivity growth.

 

 

2. Rationale 

 

Many studies on changes in agricultural productivity among African countries have also studied the determining factors. While a number of factors are identified by the different authors, many of the findings stress the critical importance of investment in R&D systems. However, spending on agricultural research as a share of each country’s agricultural gross domestic product (AgGDP) is very low, with ratios ranging from less than 0.2 percent to 4.0 percent. The majority of countries have ratios of less than 0.5 percent. While investments in agricultural R&D were identified by several authors as key drivers of productivity growth, only few countries made significant investments in R&D. It is difficult to imagine how countries intend to promote considerable technical change when they are underinvesting in a key priority area, such as R&D systems for developing and supplying modern inputs to farmers. Donor contributions accounted for an average of 35 percent of funding to principal agricultural research agencies in 2000. Five years earlier, close to half the agricultural research funding of the 20 countries was derived from donor contributions. High dependency on donor funds put the R&D in Africa at risk on one hand and dictated the research agenda on the continent on the other hand. Meanwhile, funding from sources other than government or donors, such as internally generated revenues is relatively small representing 11 percent of total funding in 2000 with the exception of few countries like Benin and Côte d’Ivoire. There is a need to look at more alternative and sustainable ways of funding agriculture R&D on the continent. Famers themselves, private sectors and others stakeholders should be the key actors in securing funding for R&D on the continent. Countries generally attain the 1 per cent target of GDP for research and innovation when business-financed research and development surpasses publicly-funded research and development. In the view of above and to respond to the Head of States and Government Decision on allocation at least 1% GDP on research, AU-SAFGRAD is organising a webinar on the innovative financing mechanism for Agriculture and Development in Africa. The aim of this video conference will be to discuss the strategies on how we mobilise alternative financing mechanism to support research activities at country level and to learn from countries like South Africa that have succeeded to engage more business sector on board.

 

 

3. Objectives of the Video Conference 

 

The proposed webinar aims to create a room for exchange and experience sharing among NARS, SROs, CGIARs, RECs and UN agencies on a national tangible funding mechanism to support R&D on the continent. A particular focus will be given to the innovative funding that goes along with the traditional channel More specifically, the objectives of the conference include discussion on the followings: 

 

✓ Analysis of trends, challenges, and opportunities for agricultural funding in Africa ;

 

✓ Mobilization of greater government support for agricultural R&D;

 

✓ Promotion of regional cooperation;

 

✓ Inform policy how to facilitate private-sector participation 

 

✓ Establish and/or strengthen national agencies responsible for mobilizing the funding for agricultural research and development 

 

✓ Encourage technology commercialization

 

✓ Innovation and technology hubs and poles (Centres of Excellence) as tools for raising research and development expenditure 

 

 

 4. Expected outcomes 

 

✓ Clear public agricultural funding mechanisms for public and private research and development projects is discussed and documented;

 

✓ Current Policy on engagement of private sector informed;

 

✓ Technology commercialization through clear national policies discussed and encouraged;

 

✓ Emergence and growth of techno poles as drivers of research and development expenditure supported;

 

✓ Business-financed research mechanism explored;

 

✓ Regional cooperation on agricultural research promoted;

 

✓ Sharing experience and best practices among;
 
 
5. Structure the of the dialogue 
 

The course of the conference will be structured a follow: Key speakers to share their views and experiences on thematic areas identified above followed by discussions/exchanges with participants. It would be interactive in nature and would permit robust engagement for the participants to share experiences. The key speakers include heads of NARS, SROs, CGIARs, RECs and UN agencies etc. 

 

6. Participants 

The conference will gather representatives from the national agricultural research centers (NARS), international research institutions including CGIAR Centers and other relevant expertise. It will also benefit from the insights and experience of representatives of the African Union Commission (AUC); Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UN agencies as well as donors communities.

 

 

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE ON “COVID-19 IMPLICATIONS ON PASTORALISM IN AFRICA” SUCCESSFULLY ORGANIZED BY AU SAFGRAD ON MAY 20, 2020


On May 20, 2020, AU-SAFGRAD organized a Video Conference that aimed at tabling reflections on the implications of Covid-19 on pastoralism development in Africa. The video conference brought together more than hundred participants including RECs, international organizations, pastoralism practitioners/associations and livestock experts.

The meeting was structured around the following specific thematic areas such as “the crisis of pastoral development”, “a crisis in the crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic in pastoral areas/ communities”, “policy responses in support of pastoral development: lessons from the covid-19 pandemic”. 

Each thematic area was developed by key speakers and was followed by a general discussion involving all participants.

In his welcome addressDr. Elmekass, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, highlighted the main challenges facing the pastoralists in Africa as well as the relation between herders and farmers communities and its impact on salience of gun in Africa.

Mr. Ernest Aubee, ECOWAS commissiondiscussed the impact of COVID 19 on pastoralism highlighting the disruption in the livestock value chain, the restriction of movements of animal herds across national borders, restriction of livestock tradeHe also discussed the disruption of lives and livelihood of pastoral communities. Mr. Abakar Mohamed from ECCAS recognized the critical challenges facing pastoral communities in the Central Africa region. Mr. Japheth Kasimbuof ICPALD/IGAD focused on the implications of the pandemic on the seasonal cross-border mobility of pastoralists in IGAD Region. The main challenges and also opportunities were highlighted. The main covid19 negative effects on pastoralism in IGAD region include: increased conflicts over natural resource, disrupted input supply chains and service provision through, restricted movements and border crossing, market closure and declining slaughter in major urban areas. Nevertheless, some positive impact of covid19 could be seen as livestock demand to Middle East countries increased approximately 4 times compared to 2019.

Boureima Dodo, RBM Network, brought the perspective of pastoral organizations on the effects of the pandemic on pastoral communities. He mentioned that pastoral communities were already deeply affected by the context of terrorism in the Sahel region. The sudden surge of the pandemic made things worse for pastoral activities. The policy responses by governments focused on lockdown measures and affected mainly the internal and transboundary mobility of pastoralists, while conflicts between local communities over access to natural resources continued being an issue of major concern. 

Mr. Velasco Gil Gregorio, Coordinator of the Pastoralist Knowledge Hub at FAO considered that it is too early to have clear evidence on impact of this crisis in pastoral areas as the data collection is still in process by different initiatives.  From the information collected and seen in different documents and communication made by stakeholders, the impacts are very context specific depending on the measures taken by different governments and administrations.

Dr Ibrahima Aliou of APESS discussed possible responses to the pandemic from the perspective of pastoral organizations. From his point of view, if the COVID-19 crisis goes beyond end of May with borders being closed, the crisis will have a major impact on the lives of pastoralists and their families. The effects will intensify even more and will impact the lives of pastoralists for a long time.

The general discussion went around different points of interest including the persistence of conflicts in the pastoral areas despite the pandemic, the issue of the livestock market closing, the call for RECs to advocate for a reopening of the borders, the opportunity for African countries to exchange among them over the Covid-19 pandemic context…

After a couple of hours of intense exchanges, the participants to the virtual conference agreed that actions and recommendations should be taken in term of policies and responses contextualized to fit into national frameworks, while assuring compatibility with public health measures to suppress COVID-19 transmission. Implementing these actions will require international coordination and resources

 

The recommended measures include, among otherpastoralists and agro-pastoralists beingclassified as vulnerable and be targeted with public funded social safety nets including cash transfers, cash for public works and later livestock insurance, the need to put in place an infrastructure for monitoring, researching and preventing reverse zoonosis of COVID-19 pandemic, the need to ensure that the Governments set up at their level an Emergency Fund for the revival of livestock farming in order to provide material support to breeders to rebuild their herd and resume breeding. Another important recommendation concerns the current projects and programs that need to be reoriented and adapted to the context of COVID 19 and new projects / programs designed to support and strengthen the adaptation of breeders and actors in the agro-pastoral sector to the harmful effects of COVID-19.

 

In a view of above three specific sets of immediate measures are currently need to mitigate the impact of COVID19 on pastoralism. These includes measures to protect pastoralism and its market, measures to maintain processing and retail operations and financial measures.

This experience of a large virtual conference organized by the AU SAFGRAD, from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, took place in general without major technical hiccups to the great satisfaction of the various attending actors who particularly appreciated the relevance of the theme as well as the quality and the high level of discussion.

 

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE ON :

"IMPLICATIONS OF COVID-19 ON PASTORALISM PRACTICES: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES".

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20th, 2020, 10-12 GMT (OUAGADOUGOU TIME)

 Tof covid 3

Preparatory meeting for the virtual conference on COVID-19 impact on Pastoralism

 THE CONCEPT NOTE

I- Background
Since the beginning of year 2020, the whole planet is facing an unprecedented health challenge as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a Coronavirus that is a pathogenic virus in animals or humans. Recently discovered (in December 2019), the Covid-2019 virus is characterized by its very fast spread across the world given that no continent was spared. As of 10th May, 2020, over 4,000,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases were recorded at the global level; the number of deaths is nearly 280, 0001. Numerous forecasts indicated an uncontrollable outbreak on the African continent. However, unlike other parts of the world (Asia, Europe, America), the pandemic has remained at a relatively low level on the African continent. According to the African Union Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the continent as a whole has today 61,165 confirmed Covid-19 cases including 2,239 deaths2. However, the continent is not safe from a future outbreak of the disease.

Behind the current health crisis, many signs of a profound economic crisis and severe food crisis risk are visible. Africa is the region in the world that is most vulnerable to a foreseeable food shock: It is in fact the continent with the highest undernourishment prevalence rate (20%)3 in the world. The most vulnerable African populations in the face of the Covid-19 danger are the rural populations that highly depend on agriculture, pastoralism and fisheries. If the pandemic gets worse in these zones, people will have less access to appropriate care because of the fact that rural areas have a very low coverage in terms of health facilities and staff. A massive Covid-19 infection among the rural populations would prevent them from producing adequate food crops for themselves and for the urban dwellers. Measures to respond to the pandemic which were notably based on movement restrictions would more particularly affect pastoralists whose activity lies on strategic mobility to access pastoral resources. 

The present concept note aims at tabling some preliminary reflections to feed into the debates of a videoconference dedicated to the implications of Covid-19 on pastoralism development. The concept note reviews the risks arising from the main measures to respond to the pandemic on pastoralism, and indicatively raises some issues that should be debated.

II- Covid-19 and pastoral communities: a crisis within a crisis

2.1- Pastoral systems in crisis
Pastoral communities are today made deeply fragile in their productive activities due to the crisis situation relating to many factors including the following most significant ones:
- The usual marginalization of pastoral lands in development processes which leads to low access for pastoral communities to public basic services, notably education, water, electricity, health … ;

- Cyclical climate and environmental disasters such as droughts, floods, locust invasions ;

- Persistent endemic diseases that affect the rural populations in general such as malaria and dengue fever

- Rapid changes occurring in the continent (population growth, urban development, exacerbated competition over land tenure …) that disrupt the ancestral practice of pastoralism.

The last decade has witnessed an asserted gradual divide between Sahel countries and coastal countries in the area of pastoral management; because of the recurrent conflicts coming with the seasonal transhumance movements, coastal countries have openly become hostile to pastoralism and have established barriers to transborder cattle movements.

One cannot disregard the recent degradation of the security situation, particularly in the Sahel countries: terrorism, banditry (notably cattle rustling) and intercommunity conflicts have deeply destabilized pastoral economies and led to the impoverishment of pastoral communities, as reflected in Internally Displaced People (IDPs) that are massively leaving pastoral zones under attacks to seek refuge in more secure urban zones.

2.2- Covid-19, an aggravating factor of the pastoral crisis
The Covid-19-related health crisis is indeed worsening an already alarming crisis situation for pastoralism. It is important to review some of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic management on pastoral economies and pastoral societies.

Starting from the first signs of Covid-19 presence in the continent, most States have reacted through information and awareness raising campaigns on the disease. It is not sure that such campaigns have effectively reached the pastoral populations for several reasons:

- First, pastoral populations are the inhabitants of pastoral lands which are made up of arid and even desert zones. These zones are most often far from urban centers and are of difficult access due to the lack of road infrastructure. Under such conditions, it is difficult to get outreach information campaign messages across to this part of the population, all the more so that radio and TV broadcast coverage is generally at random;

- Second, because of the fact that part of the pastoral population is mobile, it is not sure that Covid-19 preventive messages effectively reach the pastoral populations.

Among the preventive measures taken against the spread of the disease, restrictions to the movements of populations have been given a central place. Thus, the locations where Covid-19 cases have been confirmed have generally been placed under quarantine. Quarantining such places means that nobody can get in or out of them. Small and large scale transhumance movements are thus disrupted or even hindered. Similarly, milk collection, processing and distribution chains are disrupted.

Another significant response measure against Covid-19 consists of closing markets including cattle markets. While the disastrous losses for women producers and traders in fresh vegetables supplied to urban centers have been mentioned, attention should also be paid to the situation of pastoralists who have been barred from selling their livestock and most often compelled to sell them cheap through informal transactions. As for the municipalities that have cattle markets, their tax revenue has melted down due to the closing of cattle markets including markets that have a regional scope.

Finally, one can predict a low adoption of the barrier measures recommended by the States (frequent hand washing notably) specifically because of poor availability of safe drinking water.

2.3. Some pending issues
In the absence of disaggregated data and specific studies on the impact of Covid-19, it is important to raise a certain number of pending issues including the following ones:

- What is the real status of the Covid-19 infection among pastoral communities?

- Do the low population density and scattered habitat in pastoral land play a positive role in restricting the spread of the disease?

Do internal and transborder transhumance constitutes a major risk of spreading the disease?

- What adjustments can be made in the current management system of Covid-19 in order to better take account of the peculiarity of pastoral practices?

- In the post - Covid-19 perspective, what lessons can be fed into the formulation and implementation of new policies on sustainable and peaceful pastoral development.

III- A video-conference to debate on the impact of Covid-19 on pastoralism

3.1- Objectives of the video-conference
The overall objective of the video-conference is to bring together around the same table the main actors of pastoral development in view of reflecting on the impact of Covid-19 on pastoral development at the short and longer term.
More particularly, the video-conference will address the following topics:

i. Discuss the unintentional negative effects of Covid-19 control measures (lockdown; diverse movement restrictions …) on the pastoralist practice and on pastoral communities.

ii. Debate the potential opportunities resulting from this situation for the future of pastoral development.

iii. Anticipate on and discuss the possible conflicting implications of the pandemic for pastoral activities.


3.2- Expected outcomes
i. Measures to curtail the unwanted negative effects of Covid-19 on pastoralism and pastoral communities are identified and discussed.
ii. Opportunities for pastoral development are identified and used

3.3- Dates: Wednesday 20 May, 2020, 10:00 -12:00 H GMT
Simultaneous distance French – English interpretation will be provided.

 

DOWNLOAD HERE THE AGENDA

DOWNLOAD THE CONCEPT NOTE IN ENGLISH

TELECHARGER LA NOTE CONCEPTUELLE EN FRANCAIS  

 

AU SAFGRAD STAFF MEMBERS DONATE 5% OF THEIR MARCH SALARY TO FIGHT COVID- 19 IN BURKINA FASO

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso - March 30, 2020. The sum of one million CFA francs was handed over this morning to the Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso by AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed Elmekass. 

This amount represents "the symbolic and united contribution" that the staff of the Historical Office of the African Union in Ouagadougou have voluntarily agreed to consent to the host country to assist in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. "Each staff member, comprised of several nationalities, has voluntarily agreed to cede an amount representing 5% of the salary for the month of March to feed this donation," said the Coordinator, who is also the Dean of inter-African organizations. "By this gesture, we also hope to inspire our partners from other institutions," he added.

In his response to the Coordinator, Mr. SORGHO Emmanuel, Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Health, thanked, on behalf of the government and the people of Burkina Faso, the staff AU SAFGRAD for their very appreciable gesture symbolizing active African solidarity. Also attended to the ceremony, half a dozen close collaborators of the Minister who was unable to attend.

Burkina Faso, like 46 other African countries and the vast majority of countries in the world, has been hit hard by the pandemic of the new coronavirus. As of March 29, the country officially counted 222 confirmed cases of Covid-19 including 23 people healed and unfortunately 12 dead.

Established for more than forty years in the capital city of Burkina Faso, AU SAFGRAD is the specialized technical office of the African Union Commission in charge of agricultural research and development in the semi-arid zones of Africa.

PICTURES OF THE CEREMONY 

Covid 19 b

 

Convid 19

 DOWNLOAD HERE THE PR BY AUC COMMISSION

 

Celebrations of the Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai: March, 1-4, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Africa Environment Day was designated in 2002 by the then Organization of the African Unity Council of Ministers in their meeting in Durban, South Africa. In January 2012, the African Union adopted a decision calling for the joint celebrations of the African environment Day and Wangari Maathai Day. 

From 1st to 4th of March, Freetown, Capital City of the Republic of Sierra Leone, hosted the celebrations of the 2020 Edition Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day (AE&WMD) with the theme: “Our Resources, Our Future”. 

The annual AU event, that gathered dozens of participants coming from national and international organizations, featured a Women Forum (March, 1st-2nd), an official launching ceremony (March, 3rd) and field visits (March, 4th). For circumstances out of our control, we were not able to participate to the field visits.

Objective of the Celebrations

The overall objective of the celebration of Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day was to raise awareness at regional and national levels. The commemoration of the Day offered an opportunity for reflection and stock taking on the environmental challenges and of course, opportunities for the African continent. 

The 2020’s theme (“Our Resources, Our Future”) underpins the importance of natural resources like land, forests and biodiversity for the welfare of human society through space and time.

 The official banners of the event were designed, prepared and made by AU SAFGRAD Office and brought to the host country by the Senior Communications Officer.

Key Highlights of the AE&WMD 2020

The AE&WMD 2020 event was attended by various participants including Government officials (Ministers, MPs, etc.), private sector representatives, NGOs, Civil Societies, youth groups, women associations and International Community such as UNEP, AUDA NEPAD, ECOWAS Commission, FAO, World Bank, etc. AUC delegation, including AU SAFGRAD, was led by HE Amb. Josefa SACKO, Commissioner of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture. The invited guests included H.E. Mrs Fatoumat Jallow Tambajang, former Vice President of the Gambia. 

One of the key highlights of the commemoration of the 2020 edition of Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day (AE&WM) was a two-day Women and Environment Forum from 1 – 2 March held in Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown.  This forum is meant to strengthen the role of Women and Youth in managing natural resources. The forum organized jointly by the government Republic of Sierra Leone, AU Commission, United Nations Environment Programme and other international partners was aiming at providing space for stakeholders at national level to talk about national policies and strategies and the role of the women, Youth and local communities in ensuring environmental sustainability. During the women Forum, the African Women Inoovators of Sustainable Environment (AWISE) was presented and launched. 

The ceremony of the Official celebration held March 3rd was chaired by a representative of HE Mr. Julius Mada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. HE Amb. Josefa SACKO, Commissioner of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture has delivered a statement in which she highlighted, among other relevant things, the important roles played by Women and Youth in environment management. Other VIPs such as the Mayor of Freetown and UNEP representative made also statements during the official launching of AE&WMD 2020 edition. The event was also marked by cultural displays performances of school children and environmental groups/clubs. The Official launching was also marked by trees planting in the yard of the compound were the event took place.

Our colleague from DREA, Mr. Almami DAMPHA, Environment Officer, took part to the event by notably making presentation within the forum. The official banners of the event were produced and disseminated by Mr. Youssoupha MBENGUE, AU SAFGRAD Senior Information and Outreach Officer. 

 

 

AU SAFGRAD COORDINATOR TO ATTEND THE 36TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AU EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, is attending the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Executive Council officially opened today, at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The meeting is being held under the AU Theme of the Year 2020, “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”.

The initiative of Silencing the Guns is a flagship project of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and aims to achieve a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence, violent conflicts and preventing genocide. The meeting which was attended by Foreign Ministers of AU member states, leadership of the AU Commission and AU organs, the diplomatic corps, representatives of partner organisations and invited guests was highly solemn as the key speakers in line with the Theme, delivered powerful statements to strongly condemn and denounce the devastating effect of war the continent’s socio-economic development, among others.

AU SAFGRAD Coordinator wil take opportunity of this impôrtant gathering to meet and discuss with various partners on issues of interest to the Office mandate.

 Group picture EC

SAFGRADCoordinatorAtHQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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