Capacity strengthening must pervade all ARD activities. Many of the weaknesses identified in science and research management in the national programmes are aggravated by lack of recruitment under structural adjustment programmes. Many senior staff are about to retire without adequately prepared replacements available to replace them, resulting in a missing generation of African scientists. The situation is aggravated by inadequacies in the training of graduates wishing to take up careers in agricultural research.
African governments have done well in increasing the number of universities providing training in agriculture and natural resources and in increasing the number of places available. However, this has not been matched by increases in funding or staff recruitment. The result: research is limited, academic standards fall, employment prospects for graduates are poor, and African students perceive that an agricultural career is a last resort rather than a preferred option. Redressing this is imperative for the success and sustainability of CAADP.
From a continental perspective, significant and abiding advantages result from addressing capacity strengthening. Because the approaches and techniques used are not unique to the sub-regions, and the demand is so great relative to the available resources, every effort must be taken to avoid wasteful duplication and to ensure that discoveries and best practices are shared quickly across the continent.
NSF4 helps African organisations strengthen their capacity to implement their mandates. Focusing on both institutions and individuals, NSF4 strengthens capacity of national and sub-regional institutions and ensures that the work is sustained. This will accelerate African agricultural development and the achievement of food security, poverty alleviation and wealth creation.
NSF4's specific objective is to support sustainable improvements in broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets.