Agriculture scorecard: holding African states to account

Dr Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of the African Union Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, explains the findings of the Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard (AATS) and the Inaugural Biennial Review Report on progress towards achieving the Malabo Declaration goals.

How is the AATS linked to the Malabo Declaration? 

The AATS is part of the Inaugural Biennial Review Report, which has emerged as a result of the Malabo Declaration’s call for African Union (AU) member states to work together with partners to promote mutual accountability towards actions and results that drive Africa's agricultural transformation. The assessment of each country is based on how well they have progressed on the seven commitments of the Malabo Declaration. We specifically chose 43 indicators to track this progress, which examine progress at the input, output and outcome levels to assess the overall impact.  

Based on this assessment, every country was given a score out of 10 and, for 2017, a benchmark of 3.94 was set as the minimum score for a country to be considered on track towards achieving the Malabo commitments by 2025. Rwanda was the top performer with an overall score of 6.1, followed by Mali and Morocco which achieved scores of 5.6 and 5.5 respectively. All three countries were recognised for their performance by the AU Assembly in January 2018. 

Can you briefly explain how the AATS scores the progress of African countries? What are some of the key indicators used? 

The indicators are related to different aspects of the 2014 commitments towards agricultural transformation, for example, the commitment to spend at least 10% of public expenditure on agriculture by 2025. We collected data from each member state and looked at how much public expenditure on agriculture was for the period 2015-16. Any country that was spending 10% or more was on track, whilst any country that spent less than 10% was not on track to achieve this target and therefore scored poorly.  

The Malabo Declaration also includes commitments to achieve 6% annual growth in the agricultural sector and reduce post-harvest losses by 50% by 2025. We then have the commitment to reduce malnutrition to less than 10%. A score of less than 3.94 now does not mean that the country will fail to meet their commitments, it just helps to indicate the areas that they need to improve on in order to reach the targets by 2025. 

How will the AATS help to encourage AU member states to further progress towards agricultural transformation? 

Only 20 out of 47 AU member states that reported in this first round are on track to meet the Malabo Declaration targets by 2025. The scorecard encourages heads of states and governments to look at the commitments they made in 2014 and review how they are performing. By encouraging this reflection, we believe that countries are more likely to increase investment in developing agriculture. The scorecard is available to all stakeholders in agriculture – government ministries, private sector companies, civil society, farmer organisations, and development partners. This transparency puts pressure on the heads of states and governments to meet their commitments if they are not doing so already and enables other stakeholders to start a dialogue leading to corrective actions. 

The scorecard also allows for comparison between countries. We have developed a dashboard to show countries' scores for selected indicators to make it easier to directly compare a specific indicator. So, for instance, a country can look at the scores that Rwanda, the best performer, achieved for the different indicators and compare them to its own scores. In doing so, its policymakers can assess what they can learn from Rwanda in the areas that it has performed better to ensure their country also invests in those areas to meet the Malabo targets. 

What are some of the conclusions drawn from the Inaugural Biennial Review Report? 

From the data collected, we gained some insights to suggest a few recommendations. The scorecard revealed that each of the countries are facing different challenges, which are specific to their context. Therefore, in the individual country profiles, we make three recommendations on how they need to improve in order to stay on track to meet the Malabo targets.  

The report also includes some more general recommendations, such as the call for African countries to increase investment and finance in agriculture, as well as improve access to financial and advisory services for citizens engaged in agriculture. We noticed that almost all countries had issues with collecting the data required for the indicators – no country had data for all indicators and eight countries did not submit any data at all. Another key recommendation, then, is that countries invest in strengthening their national agriculture statistics systems.

For more information see the full review of the Inaugural Biennial Review Report

Stephanie Lynch

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.