I have the pleasure and the honor to announce the launching of operations of AKADEMIYA2063. July 1, 2020 marks the realization of a process that has been under preparation for years: the migration to an African organization of the significant portfolio of activities that the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has hosted in support of the African agenda for the last 15 years.
These are the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), the African Growth and Development Policy Modeling Consortium (AGRODEP) and the Malabo Montpellier Panel (MaMo). ReSAKSS and its affiliated activities have supported the African Union and its member states with data, analysis and institutional as well as technical capacity building to successfully implement the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Building African capacity and institutions has been a long-term goal of the African Union, IFPRI, and development partners. From the outset, the ultimate objective of the ReSAKSS program and related activities supported by IFPRI has been to institutionalize them within an African organization.
AKADEMIYA2063 is based in Kigali and operates a regional office in Dakar. Our hope is that our greater proximity, expanded network and closer collaboration with major stakeholders will allow us to continue and further improve upon the excellent work carried out in the past by ReSAKSS, AGRODEP and MaMo. Our vision for AKADEMIYA2063 is to act as a catalyst to help mobilize and deploy the vast African expertise on the ground to contribute to knowledge generation and knowledge support. This local expertise is ready to play a more proactive role in meeting the needs for data, analysis and evidence that arise from the ambitions of Africa’s leadership through continental agendas such as CAADP, the broader NEPAD initiative, and above all, the Agenda 2063.
Policymaking is a daily business, and close proximity to expertise that can be tapped into to inform short-term needs for evidence is extremely important. Political decisions are also highly complex processes that involve and are subjected to a variety of points of view, beliefs and preferences. Informing such processes with locally based, locally rooted evidence increases policy relevance and legitimacy and ultimately contributes toward the achievement of outcomes.
Africa has historically suffered from a disconnect between the science and policymaking spheres, resulting in policies which are inadequately informed by evidence and which have often proved ineffective or even counterproductive. Much progress has been made in this area, including through CAADP. However, much remains to be done. The intention of AKADEMIYA2063 is to build a bridge, not just between the African scientific community and decision making actors, but also between the science community in Africa and our peers around the world. Our actions and partnerships aim to harness the best available knowledge and evidence to advance the African agenda.
We look forward to consolidating our strong partnerships and collaborative relationships across the continent within the scientific community and among other stakeholders in the agriculture constituency. We will be extending our arms to reach further to enhance and broaden our partnerships to maximize our collective impact in the continent and beyond.
Our activities are nothing new, but our name is. AKADEMIYA refers to our intention to leverage science and create knowledge that is useful to advance the African agenda—science that meets the specific needs of those who are charged with leading action at the continental, regional and national levels, within government as well as nonstate organizations. The spelling of AKADEMIYA reflects the African identity of the organization: its spelling remains unchanged in many African languages, from Swahili to Mooré to Hausa to Xosa. 2063 refers to the African Union’s Agenda 2063, “The Africa We Want,” to express our focus on this broader agenda and its needs for data, analytics and evidence.
ReSAKSS and its associated programs have supported knowledge needs effectively for the narrower CAADP agenda; Agenda 2063 incorporates many additional goals in multiple sectors which will be translated into actions on the ground by African decisionmakers. We intend to play our part and make our modest contribution, whatever the sector and scope. We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders—users and generators of knowledge, government and nonstate actors, partners at the national, continental and global levels—as we advance together toward an Africa which harnesses its own human resources to shape its development.