The Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD)
The Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD) is a new organization that aims to strengthen the human and institutional capacity of African agricultural RET institutions and build strong linkages between these institutions and counterpart institutions worldwide. Specifically, AAAPD will help catalyze Africa’s agricultural transformation by facilitating agricultural information and technology exchange; encouraging public-private RET investment and collaboration; and advancing agricultural policy dialogue that enhances smallholder farmer productivity and rural business development. African professionals in the Diaspora are increasingly being recognized globally for their skills asset, financial resource transfer and impact, and better articulation of Africa’s development strategies that are both transformational and sustainable. Many of them are ready to give back to the continent, and AAAPD is leading the way in harnessing the skills, resources and networks of agricultural professionals.
The current global food, fuel and financial crises as well as recurring droughts and flooding in parts of Africa have revealed the daunting task the continent faces of feeding an increasing population on dwindling arable land and fiscal resources. Weak agricultural research, extension and training (RET) institutions can no longer cope with increasing demands to develop and disseminate appropriate technologies that would raise agricultural productivity and income especially for smallholder farmers. As a result, Africa’s food and agriculture sectors have performed poorly and basic food security and rural livelihoods have deteriorated over the past three decades. During the same period, African governments and donors have spent billions of dollars in agricultural programs that were short-term, fragmented, and uncoordinated, or project-based while relying on expertise that is often not in tune with the sociopolitical issues on the continent. Experience worldwide shows that investing in agriculture is critical for economic development as was demonstrated by Asia’s Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s. The African predicament calls for urgent measures to stimulate agricultural productivity in food and export commodities, including better policies and significant increases in long-term agricultural investments by local governments, donors, foundations and the private sector. It is clear that short-term strategies focused on the current crisis will not suffice.
AAAPD’s specific objectives are:
To make AAAPD a premier resource network that will support human and institutional capacity building in Africa’s RET institutions. This includes hosting an active, accessible agricultural human and technology resource database.
To create strong and effective linkages between African agricultural professionals in the Diaspora and African RET and policy institutions and associations such as the AU/NEPAD; FARA; Regional Economic Communities (RECs); Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA); smallholder farmer and agribusiness associations; African governments and local universities to serve as an effective bridge, catalyst and platform for knowledge transfer and human resource development between Africa and the rest of the world in a manner that is consistent with African priorities and programs on the ground.
To focus creatively on mainstreaming gender into Africa’s agricultural development and help strengthening women smallholder farmers as a strategic business of AAAPD.
To define and develop the core competencies of AAAPD and form thematic networks in areas of comparative advantage and priority focus for long term engagement. This includes recruiting AAAPD members and establishing networks in Europe, Asia and the Far East for the purpose of creating a global network resource of African agricultural professionals that can be harnessed for effective African development.
To expand the management of information systems of strategic influence to the core business of AAAPD
A detailed action plan was developed during the planning phase of the project proposal. During the next few months, AAAPD will develop a framework for clearly defining its strategic focus, expanding its membership among Africans in the Diaspora and its partners in and outside Africa, and do the following:
Identify, assemble, and create a database and network of skilled agricultural professionals in the Diaspora.
Engage in multi-stakeholder meetings with counterparts in Africa and engage in discussions to foster strategic alliances for the development of African agriculture.
Convene consultation with public, private and civil sector institutions in Africa and North America, as well as engage the donor community in participating in agricultural development in Africa.
Identify and engage key organizations that represent women in African development and organize high level discussions to increase visibility and relevance of AAAPD as an effective partner in mainstreaming gender issues in Africa’s smallholder agriculture.
Facilitate discussion forums focused on core challenges facing African agriculture and how the Diaspora can be engaged both as a resource and a channel for potential solutions.
In the long-term, AAAPD will develop multi-faceted and searchable African agriculturalists resource databases; strengthen African RET institutions working on agricultural development; increase awareness of gender complexities within Africa’s smallholder agriculture; participate in policy dialogues that promote African smallholder agriculture; and be an effective conduit of transferring appropriate knowledge and technologies to national and regional organizations that work with African RET institutions and smallholder farmers. Ultimately, AAAPD activities will help create sustained long-term agricultural and agribusiness development across the African continent.
AAAPD was founded on July 14, 2008 by a multi-disciplinary team of African professionals, many of them academicians, researchers, extension specialists and agricultural development experts resident in the United States and Canada. The majority of them have 10-20 years experience working in different capacities in Africa in addition to their international experience.
For more information about AAAPD, please contact:
Dr. Andrew Manu, President, AAAPD
1126A Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University,
Ames, IA 50011-0001
Phone: 1 515 294 1416
or 1 515 294 5510