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Science Agenda to galvanize Africa to walk the talk

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Speakers and guests at the Science Agenda consultation workshop in Kigali, Rwanda

Achieving the S3A target of doubling public and private sector investment into agricultural research for development and doubling productivity by 2020 will only be attained through “business unusual” and “walking the talk”, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) senior directors have told key stakeholders in Rwanda.

Addressing Participants at the just concluded rollout consultations for Rwanda in the Capital, Kigali, FARA’s director for Research and Innovation, Irene Annor-Frempong; and Aggrey Agumya, the Director Corporate Partnerships and Communication both underscored the game changing traits of the S3A framework.

“Empirical evidence across the world shows that Agricultural transformation has been driven by a science, technology and innovation. Africa’s transformation will be no different. Science can and should drive transformation of agriculture and society in Africa,” said Aggrey Agumya.

Ambitious vision

The S3A aspires to see the continent become food secure, a global breadbasket and a key player in science for development by 2030. The S3A is an African led instrument designed to enhance the coherence of initiatives to galvanize action towards increased application of Science Technology and Innovations (STI) in agriculture and more efficient utilization of resources.

Game changer

According to FARA, the S3A is based on the recognition of the game-changing potential of science for the continent’s agricultural transformation agenda encapsulated in the CAADP.

The S3A has gone through several consultative processes during its development. Close to ten high level and technical consultative workshops and working sessions have been organised towards the development and launching of S3A. It focuses on four key thematic areas namely:

  1. Sustainable productivity in major farming systems.
  2. Food systems and value chains.
  3. Agricultural biodiversity and natural resource management.
  4. Mega trends and challenges for agriculture in Africa.

S3A process

The development of the S3A was commissioned by the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency through the Dublin Process in 2012. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) was then mandated to coordinate its development and implementation, given its comparative advantages.

The S3A was endorsed by the African Union (AU) Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture in April 2014 and subsequently by the AU Heads of State in the June 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated African Agricultural Growth and Transformation.

Implementation

In efforts to mainstream S3A into national discourse, FARA is promoting and initially facilitating efforts to effectively domesticate it into national strategies, investment and action plans given the uniqueness of the contexts, challenges, opportunities and priorities of countries.

Scaling up S3A

According to FARA, the S3A will be implemented using a scaling up approach, starting with a few countries. The approach is to allow continuous learning, hence creating evidence and impact.

It is envisaged that the planning and implementation of the S3A in Rwanda will provide lessons for the scaling up continentally. The Kigali consultations came at the heels of two S3A regional consultation for the Southern Africa countries hosted by Malawi from April 10 – 12, 2017 and the second for East and Central Africa hosted by Rwanda from the April 19– 21, 2017.

 

Date Published: 
Wednesday, 05 July 2017