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Towards a long-term Africa-EU partnership to raise sustainable food and nutrition security in Africa

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PROIntensAfrica (Towards a long-term Africa-EU partnership to raise sustainable food and nutrition security in Africa)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-03-31

PROIntensAfrica has as objective to developed a framework for a long term research and innovation partnership between Europe and Africa, based on exploring and exploiting the diversity of pathways to sustainable intensification of African agro-food systems. Key was the perception that pooling resources is the best way to align existing and initiate new research and innovation actions. This perception followed the policy of the EC, where instruments of joint programming like ERA-NET, JPI and article 185 aim to accomplish synergy and increase the effectiveness of resources.

The rationale of the project was that a variety of pathways contribute to sustainable intensification of African food systems, including conventional high-input, eco-technical, organic or agro-ecological farming systems. The approach of the PROIntensAfrica consortium was that taking into account the diversity will open exciting new pathways and will yield innovative systems optimally adapted to location specific contexts.

A total of 23 partners, 8 African partners and 15 European partners joined forced in the consortium of PROIntensAfrica. The work was organised in 7 Work Packages (WPs), focussing on different aspects in formulating the future strategic research and innovation partnership. Each WP is co-lead by an European and African partner.

The PROIntensAfrica project started on 1-4-2015 and was complemented on 31 March 2017.
Activities and results

WP1 facilitated and was responsible for the final output of the PROIntensAfrica project, the outline of the future research and innovation partnership. The outline is based on the outputs of the other work packages, and is thus a synthesis of the other outputs. The process included several steps: the write shop in Portugal with all WP co-leaders, to make the first draft, facilitated by an external expert. The final draft document was presented and discussed at the final workshop in Addis Ababa, comments and suggestions from the meeting integrated in the final document.
To align policy makers, WP1 organised several meeting to present the progress and outcomes of the project.
In the second year WP 2 concluded the work of all 6 in-depth and 11 light case studies and all case studies reported the data, findings and conclusions in individual case study reports. The case study work was completed by a cross-case study analysis. During the second year, WP2 completed the general literature review on the sustainable intensification concepts. Based on the case study and the literature study results, WP2 developed the subject matter building blocks framework of the research and innovation agenda for the future EU-Africa partnership.

In the second year, WP3 analysed the dataset of projects on path way(s) targeted, per project, focus on commodities, and geographic spreading of the project. This was done to get a good knowledge on actual funding and research gaps, which helped to shape the research and innovation agenda of the future partnership.

The teams of WP4 and WP5 worked during the first project year on the inventory of experiences with funding mechanism and governance mechanism respectively, of existing instruments for bi-continental strategic partnership programmes. During the second project year, both teams worked on recommended guidelines for governance and funding for the future partnership on sustainable intensification. As the subjects of governance and funding mechanism are interlinked, WP4 and WP5 intensified their collaboration in the second project year, although the two WPs delivered their own output.

In the first project year, WP7 worked on the programme review report to document the likely impact of research for development in relation to the advantages of joint programming. Subsequently the team started with developing a comprehensive and action oriented impact assessment methodology to be used for measuring the impact of a future IntensAfrica research and innovation programme. This assessment methodology was completed in the second project year. The last task was the ex-ante impact assessment of the future research and innovation partnership programme.

The team members of WP6, responsible for the communication and information dissemination, provided during the project the communication on the project and outputs produced through, amongst others the web site and through the e-newsletters. Other platforms used include Facebook and Twitter. For several occasions, the team prepared communication materials as policy briefs and passports of the case studies.

Although a number of deliverables were made available later than planned, the overall progress of the project was good. The main building blocks of the final document (Del 1.4) were available in time for the write shop in Portugal. In addition to these deliverables, all report of the in-depth and light case studies are available through the PROIntensAfrica website.

Socio-economic impact of the project

The PROIntensAfrica project was a CSA project and not a research project which could show, on the basis of the research results, socio-economic results and positive impact on livelihoods of the rural population in Africa. These results and impacts can be only expected if the partnership proposed will materialize and operational in the near future.

Exploitation and dissemination of results.

The most important instrument for exploitation and dissemination of the results of the PROIntensAfrica project is the project web-site and news letters. All formal deliverables and other products like the case study reports and the policy briefs are accessible through the web site.
The PROIntensAfrica project started with the idea of preparing the framework for the strategic Africa-Europe research and innovation partnership first, and then exploring the opportunities to initiate this new initiative. Some occasions, however, provided earlier than expected chances to the PROIntensAfrica consortium to capitalize on the philosophy, concepts, and knowledge developed.

The first occasion was the publication in the Horizon 2020 work plan 2016 of a call on EU-Africa Research and Innovation partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (SFS-41-2016).

After the publication of the call, PROIntensAfrica partners aligned with the national research funders, and other existing networks interested to respond to this call. The proposal, called LEAP-AGRI, is coordinated by ANR (France) and has been submitted on 17 February 2016 and approved for funding in June 2016.

The second occasion was the endorsement of the HLPD roadmap for the Africa-EU R&I Partnership Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) during a high-level AU – EU policy meeting held in Ethiopia early April 2016.

Back to back with the high-level policy meeting, a Stakeholder Forum was held in order to discuss the implementation of the Africa-EU Research and Innovation (R&I) Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture. This stakeholder meeting was co-organised by PROIntensAfrica, and will be another occasion for PROIntensAfrica partners to contribute with knowledge, experience and resources to the food and nutrition security in Africa.