While the three programs reviewed in this paper emphasize local production of capacities through building local institutions, they continue to depend on external sources of funding. The recent economic growth in several African countries could help such programs to become self-sustaining, but funding from the participating governments, particularly in the context of CAADP implementation, will be necessary. Further recent developments in terms of organizing global approaches to capacity development for agricultural research and innovation—such as modifications to the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Capacities Montpelier Action Plan (CAPMAP 2010–20)—also call for the overhaul of capacity building approaches for international agricultural research for development. The Montpelier initiative emphasizes “building the capacity to build capacity.” This program is likely to support the development of regional centers of excellence in training for agricultural research and development in each of Africa’s subregions. In order to take advantage of the emerging interest in capacity strengthening, it is important that NARSs prepare by identifying their strategic capacity and institutional strengthening needs, as well as providing overall leadership to enable the successful use of the capacities developed. While further innovations are needed to strengthen capacities cost-effectively, the three programs reviewed emphasize the role of national leadership. Agricultural research plans for capacity strengthening offer a forum for discussion to ensure that capacity strengthening remains high on the agricultural development agenda.
ASTI/IFPRI-FARA Conference Working Paper 18
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)