New Approaches to Strengthening Human and Institutional Capacity for Improving Rural Livelihoods in Africa

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // All the recent major studies of African rural livelihoods and development have, on the one hand recognised that agricultural development is essential to drive Africa’s overall economic and social development and, on the other hand, recognised that Africa is critically short of the innovation capacity to meet its targets for agricultural production. This has focused attention on learning why Africa has lost, not produced or failed to recruit the calibre of innovators it requires and why Africa has not made best use of ICTs and distance learning to empower rural innovators and why its universities are not sufficiently engaged with the other actors in agricultural research and development. // The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) was formed to catalyse, encourage and facilitate partnerships between its members; African and non-African. Extensive consultations have resulted in several innovative cross-continental partnerships that are addressing the issues of agricultural innovation. The Regional Agricultural Information and Learning System (RAILS) is enhancing the flow of information and also enabling actors across the agricultural value chains to interact and learn from each other about the innovations that they are involved in. The success of RAILS will be enhanced by the programme for Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa (SCARDA) is taking a novel holistic approach to strengthening the human and institutional capacities of agricultural organisations and their partners in the value chains. The sustainability of the advances made by SCARDA will be underpinned by the programme for Building Africa’s Scientific and Institutional Capacity (BASIC) which is a partnership of African and non-African universities and African based agricultural research institutions. This will enable the universities to produce the calibre and type of graduates and under-graduates that the actors in the value chains require for the world of today and the future. // Paper ID 363