Moving to Action - Fellows Consider Next Steps for Africa

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Dec 04, 2013
by Oscar Tollast
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Moving to Action - Fellows Consider Next Steps for Africa

Participants urged to keep momentum going Fellows of the session entitled, 'Africa's Growth Engine: Partnerships for Rural Enterprise and Impact at Scale'

Fellows at Salzburg Global’s session on Africa’s rural enterprise have been encouraged to expand upon their workshop discussions as soon as possible.

The session entitled, ‘Africa's Growth Engine: Partnerships for Rural Enterprise and Impact at Scale’ came to an end on Tuesday evening.

Participants spent their final day formulating action steps around specific themes and opportunities to encourage growth in the region.

The three-day session was co-organized with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a UN specialized agency.

Maria Hartl, technical advisor on gender and social equity in the Policy and Technical Advisory Division of IFAD, urged participants to write up a proposal of their ideas.

“A lot of ideas have been coming out in the last six hours, but we have to finish. I have a feeling we have not finished discussing them.

“We have some very good headlines, with a bit of text underneath, but we didn’t really shape it.”

She suggested whilst there had been many ideas raised in the final hours of the workshop, they still needed to be fleshed out.

“I would really like to invite all those who held these brilliant ideas not to go away back home with them but to send them to us.

“We hope that with the Salzburg Global Seminar we can continue with this initiative.”

Diasmer Bloe, a newly-appointed program director at Salzburg Global, said participants had made progress but still needed to experiment with solutions.

She added that the Seminar’s role was to now complement the work of participants, support scaling up and connect with partners.

Participants had started the day reviewing the previous day’s key points.

The morning was set aside to focus on the conceptual themes generated by the group.

These themes included: the value chain, gender, policy and the private sector, measurement, marketing development and capacity development.

Arguments were raised for a stronger data set, revealing whether policy frameworks or specific environments were the cause of successful entrepreneurship.

Participants wished to focus on bridging the public and private sectors in a way to make efficiency and equity gains.

It was suggested farmers needed to be better organized and have a better understanding of market intelligence and trends.

In a small presentation, the youth were identified as a key aspect in capacity development.

It was argued that they had the ability to change habits and attitudes.

But as discussions progressed, four groups began to emerge from the meeting.

These focused on rural enterprise in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Senegal.

It was suggested that conversations should begin to look at these countries in particular, with the idea a clear roadmap could be created thereafter.

In Ghana, capacity building for the youth could involve apprenticeship training, led by a national board for small-scale industries.

Meanwhile, a council for technical and vocational training could exist to help identify the youth who have the potential to be entrepreneurs.

In Rwanda, the private sector was seen as an engine for rural development with a focus on the horticulture sector.

For this to occur however, a framework would have to bring the private sector on board and allow investments in particular value chains.

In Kenya, whilst a huge local demand was identified for indigenous vegetables, a lack of seeds, storage facilities and processing was also highlighted.

The group suggested finding a legal framework and partnership model that would allow 100 well-developed businesses to sell seed and production by July 2014.

A call was also made for a market to be developed for indigenous chickens, suggesting a number of opportunities existed to scale up quickly.

Participants argued a lack of coordination existed between agencies in Senegal.

The group who focused on the country suggested the use of a case study to highlight at an IFAD forum at a later date.

As part of the closing conversation, participants considered the progress that had been made during the three-day workshop.

Some of the key principles had potential to conflict, which left participants to ponder what trade-offs could be made to move further forward.

Other discussion points considered included the idea of using success stories to inspire others looking to expand and achieve.

The role of government agencies and businesses was also identified as playing a significant part in the future of rural enterprise development.

But the scope of development has to be outlined. Participants had initially been asked for a timeline of when action steps could be implemented.

For one attendee, they felt having shorter timelines pushed participants to come up with something concrete.

The session had shown that it was possible to bring together representatives from governments, the private sector, civil society and other sectors to work together and think how to move forward.

Whilst participants had run out of time to further develop their ideas, the message at the end of the session remained clear: keep in touch and keep the momentum ongoing.