Strong agricultural growth is a multiplier for economic growth. However, despite the unprecedented decade of impressive advancements across the African continent and improved governance and improvements in human development indicators, African agriculture still faces major challenges. The solution to these lingering issues remains unclear in large part because there remains a gap between the research on how agricultural productivity should be sustainably boosted in Africa and agricultural policy development.
More than ever, there is a need for strong evidence to better inform development professionals, policy makers, donor community and private sector investors. This abundance of research findings and evaluation reports now needs to be systematically reviewed, translated, contextualized, and disseminated to better inform policy makers and development practitioners to effectively transform African agriculture to increase incomes, reduce food insecurity, and put African countries on track to achieve sustainable agricultural transformation on the continent.
Recommendations for policy action in sub-Sahara Africa have not been effectively communicated or implemented. There are few institutions and organizations actively engaging policy makers, development professionals, civil societies and community leaders. There continues to be a disconnect between the generation and creation of new and solid evidence from agricultural and development systems research efforts and the translation of that same evidence into data-informed policy action. Policy makers struggle to find, collate, understand and apply the evidence to support their own decision-making needs, despite existing knowledge. These challenges are not insurmountable. With the right level of support and collaboration between researchers, evaluation experts and decision-makers, the translation of evidence-based research findings into actionable policy and programmatic guidance is an achievable goal.
With this background in mind, the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) and ISSER are partnering with the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access (AMA Innovation Lab), to organize two regional conferences to be held in Africa in May and July 2017.
The two conferences, which will be organized under the same theme — “Evidence to Action” – towards a measured driven and data informed policy for action to enhance collaboration between researchers and stakeholders and outline clear recommendations on how to ensure Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and evidence-based research positively impacts regional and national priorities and contributes to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Malabo Declaration.
The purpose of this convening is to promote evidence from rigorous impact evaluations and research and to encourage increased uptake and utilization of research and innovation in evaluation to influence policy and drive change at the national, regional and global levels.
The conference provides an excellent platform for researchers, academics, private sector practitioners, development agencies, civil society and policy makers to learn, share information, build networks and partnerships with the overall objective of identifying effective strategies and interventions for ensuring data generated from research and evaluation projects is well utilized.
These convening will provide a platform for industry stakeholders to:
- Learn about the innovative & cutting-edge research and evaluation projects
- Discover the range of high quality evidence of what works, where, and why
- Get actionable information about these research innovation and best practices
- Discuss strategies for scaling
- Understand more concretely how evaluation and research results can contribute to systemic change in African agriculture development
The West Africa convening will be held over a two-day period and will comprise the following activities:
- Plenary sessions to be addressed by stakeholders
- Breakout sessions to address specific issues and topics
- Self-organized side events where institutions can present their programs and galvanize support for their activities
- An exhibition where organizations can exhibit their projects and activities
- A business-to-business platform where stakeholders attending the Conference can meet each other on the sidelines of the event
“Evidence to Action” is premised on the understanding that there are evidence-based research and evaluation projects that have a huge potential to positively impact Africa’s policy decisions and development agenda.
This conference theme has been broken down into sub- themes highlighting key issues. For each sub-theme various aspects including assessment methods and data, technologies, practices, strategies, investment, policies, cases studies, success stories will be discussed and showcased.
- Promotion of the adoption of improved technologies
- Developing markets through public-private partnerships
- Agriculture risk, index insurance and technology
- Financial inclusion through smart subsidies, impact investing, credit and savings
- Information and extension: Reaching farmers where they are
- Harnessing information and communications technology
- Evidence synthesis and evaluation result generalization
- Research and evaluation of agriculture transformation programs in Africa
Congress participants will be drawn from a diversity of stakeholders across Africa who are involved in the research and evaluation sector.
This includes the following:
- Relevant government ministries’ representatives
- Technology promoters/distributors/partners
- Farmer organizations
- Representatives from universities
- Development think tanks
- Research Organizations (National and International)
- Development agencies and donor community
- Private Sector organizations/companies
The planning and organizing for this conference is coordinated by ICED in partnership with ATAI, AMA Innovation Lab and Tegemeo Institute, among others.
Financing and Technical Support
This initiative has attracted financial and technical support from key partners in the research and evaluation space including ICED, ATAI and AMA Innovation Lab, ISSER, and Tegemeo Institute. Organizers are reaching out to other local and global partners to support this great initiative.