In their joint effort to scale up the delivery of Technical Assistance (TA) and the transfer of know-how in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Office (GO) are planning to increase the participation of Sub-Regional Organizations (SROs) in TA activities (see previous article).
As a result, the GO has recently signed a Letter of Agreement (LoA) with the Economic and Statistical Observatory for sub-Saharan Africa (AFRISTAT).
AFRISTAT is a regional organization whose mission is to contribute to the development of economic, social and environmental statistics in its member countries and strengthen national capacities in these domains. AFRISTAT began operating in 1996 and is located in Bamako (Mali), with twenty-two member countries, mainly from francophone Africa. Over the years, the organization has acquired extensive experience in providing training and ad-hoc technical support to countries on many statistical domains. It also has regulatory powers in relation to the harmonization of statistical methods, standards and concepts across its member states.
The objective of the LoA is to provide technical support to a limited number of countries on the adoption of some cost-effective methods developed by the Global Strategy (GS) while ensuring a progressive takeover of the technical assistance activities by AFRISTAT. In terms of technical support to countries, it is expected that four countries receive assistance for the creation of a master sampling frame for agricultural sample surveys, such as AGRIS. In addition, three countries will receive technical support on the improved methodology for the compilation of food balance sheets.
To ensure an effective implementation of these TA activities and an adequate transfer of know-how, the strategy relies on a close collaboration between experts from AFRISTAT and the GO. In addition to the resources included in the LoA to cover one in-house agricultural statistician, the GO will assign to AFRISTAT’s premises two FAO statisticians, specifically trained on several cost-effective methodologies developed by the GS. Senior international consultants, specialized in the two target areas of work, will also participate in the preparation and delivery of in-country assistance activities to ensure a high quality of assistance. By adopting this strategy, the transfer of know-how will not be limited to the activities planned under the LoA but assistance will also be provided to AFRISTAT for strengthening its overall agricultural statistics programme.
The GO hopes to extend this type of collaboration to other Regional Economic Communities (RECs). As envisioned in the Global Strategy’s Action plan for Africa, the implementation of its technical component is more likely to succeed by leveraging existing structures and harnessing regional capacities.