In 2004 IFPRI and two partners, the Eastern and Central Africa Programme for Agricultural Policy Analysis (ECAPAPA) and the African Economics Research Consortium (AERC), launched the Collaborative Master’s Program of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics (CMAAE). The program, based on a review showing a need for more postgraduate training to make Africa’s agricultural sector effective in reducing hunger and poverty, currently involves 16 universities in 12 Sub-Saharan African countries.
Before bringing the first students on board, CMAAE developed a detailed operational plan and a curriculum for the program and trained CMAAE instructors in the program’s curriculum and materials. Internationally renowned scholars were invited to serve as external examiners for the program’s tests. And a network of agricultural economics departments in the member universities was formed (AAEEN) to provide academic guidance to CMAAE and to strengthen individual programs.
In 2005, as part of its strategy to build sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa, IFPRI transferred facilitation and management of the program to the AERC. An IFPRI senior staff member serves as a member of the CMAAE Program Executive Committee. In 2006 CMAAE had its first intake of 56 students in five universities (Makerere University, University of Nairobi, University of Zimbabwe, Egerton University, and University of Pretoria). Student demand currently exceeds the available slots.
Links to the program’s website attest to the program’s success in building capacity in Africa and to IFPRI’s key role in the program’s creation. One external examiner has written, “These courses are well designed and executed, achieving an international standard comparable to M.Sc. courses in these topics at many agricultural economics departments in the United States. I am impressed by the quality and clarity of the materials presented.