Africa Regional Capacity Development Project

The lack of capacity is one of the compelling development challenges facing sub-Saharan African countries and regional institutions. Capacity constraints are serious impediments to the design and implementation of gender-responsive growth-oriented poverty reducing policies and programmes at regional, national and sub-national levels, as well as to the quest of African countries to promote regional integration, peace & security and good governance.

UNDP is implementing the Regional Project to Strengthen Institutional Capacities to Accelerate Pro-Poor growth and Accountability in Sub-Saharan Africa which aims to contribute to addressing these challenges by enhancing the capacities of lead African institutions. The project was launched during a Stakeholder and Project Launch Workshop from the 17th to the 18th of May 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The workshop provided a platform for officially kick-starting and engaging with stakeholders on the expected project outcomes. The workshop attracted representation from keys partners including the Africa Union Commission, NEPAD Coordination and Planning Agency, the regional economic groupings, government representatives, development partners, and UNDP Practice Teams and Regional Project Managers from the Regional Centres.

The workshop strengthened partnerships with key regional institutions and reinforced their sense of ownership of and involvement in the Project.  Key conclusions and recommendations include institutional capacity strengthening priorities, establishment of a regional platform for development effectiveness, strengthening of linkages between regional activities and country priorities, development and implementation South-South exchanges, etc.  

The event also provided a platform for consolidating views from UNDP Country Offices, other UN agencies, national governments, and development agencies on how to engage national governments in improving national capacity for development goals, and identification of priorities for national capacity development.   Key issues in this regard included, among others, UN’s catalytic role in national capacity development, and improving national implementation capacity for MDG attainment.

There was a consensus that NEPAD’s Africa Platform for Development Effectiveness should be adopted as the basis for harmonising capacity development effort across the region. The need for a regional platform and processes to support knowledge and experience sharing on CD was emphasised. It was agreed that UNDP will support the establishment of this platform.

The need for an effective multi-stakeholder engagement at regional and national levels was also emphasised. In the regard it was recommended that the UNDP should explore new ways of engaging (and doing business), providing support to the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and strengthening the capacity of the RECs to act as change agents in their respective sub-regions.