The 2016 Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) Annual Conference was held in Accra, Ghana, October 18 - 20, 2016 under the theme “Achieving a Nutrition Revolution for Africa: The Road to Healthier Diets and Optimal Nutrition.” The conference, organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), brought together policymakers, academics, researchers, civil society representatives, and development partners and other key stakeholders from within and outside Africa to review the status of nutrition in Africa, the importance of dietary quality & diversity, and the role agriculture can play ensuring that food systems lead to more nutritious foods.
The conference was aimed at discussing important issues raised and related recommendations of the 2015 ATOR—the official CAADP monitoring and evaluation report. Review progress in implementing the CAADP agenda and in particular, progress toward achieving key CAADP goals and targets as well as in creating capacities and adopting effective modalities for evidence-based policy planning and implementation.
The first day of the conference included a number of side events by partner organizations and opening session of the annual conference. Ousmane Badiane, IFPRI - Africa Director, welcomed delegates before the Conference was officially opened by Shenggen Fan, IFPRI Director General; Paulina Addy, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana; James Oehmke, USAID and H.E Rhoda Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC.
In his welcoming speech, Ousmane Badiane, IFPRI - Africa Director, said “Improving food security is not only about making sure people are consuming adequate calories, but ensuring that diets provide adequate nutrients for the healthy growth and development of Africa’s children and the health and wellbeing of all people”. He also added that the 2015 Annual Trends and Outlook Report (ATOR) shows policymakers must not only monitor nutrition outcomes but set ambitious targets and design appropriate strategies to achieve these. The first step to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth in Africa is to reduce hunger and malnutrition which rob the continent of its human resource potential.
Shenggen Fan, IFPRI Director General, in his opening speech, stressed that IFPRI is committed to take a journey with AU and the continent to end hunger and malnutrition and it is very fitting that the 2015 ReSAKSS Annual Trends and Outlook Report is devoted to nutrition.
The second day of the ReSAKSS conference included an overview of the current state of nutrition in Africa and current progress toward meeting the region’s nutrition targets. The discussion centered on ReSAKSS’s Annual Trend and Outlook Report 2015. A discussion on emerging opportunities and challenges for healthier diets in Africa included a presentation on work by IFPRI, in partnership with Helen Keller International (HKI), to evaluate several projects, including: efforts to increase nutritious food consumption in Burkina Faso, tracking economic growth and food consumption patterns in Ghana, and the role that mycotoxins play in nutrition.
The final day of the conference evaluate progress and challenges in establishing and operationalizing effective country SAKSS platforms and mutual accountability platforms through agriculture joint sector reviews (JSRs).
The conference was built around plenary and parallel sessions that allowed participants to share ideas and deliberate openly on pressing issues. The sessions were organized around the following topics:
- The current state of nutrition in Africa
- Emerging opportunities and challenges for healthier diets in Africa
- Better data for evidence based planning and decision making on nutrition in Africa
- CAADP progress report
- Looking forward to better nutrition for Africa
- Strengthening agriculture joint sector reviews (JSRs) & preparing for the CAADP biennial review
- Improving JSR practices at country level: achievement and gaps
- Mobilizing country SAKSS analytical network and supporting the preparation of national agriculture investment plans (NAIPS)
- Setting up SAKSS governance structures and analytical networks