The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition comprises country-specific commitments codified in Cooperation Frameworks, as well as Enabling Actions that address broad constraints to inclusive, agriculture-led growth and support country-level actions. Through these efforts, partners are unlocking responsible private investment in African agriculture that can sustainably support small-scale farming and help reduce poverty, hunger and undernutrition.
Recognizing that clear, secure and negotiable rights to land and resources are essential for agricultural growth, all parties commit to operate in a manner consistent with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and a set of principles for responsible agricultural investment now under negotiation led by the Committee on World Food Security.
Stakeholders outline their policy and investment commitments in each country through a negotiated Cooperation Framework that supports the priorities of that country’s National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plan.
New Alliance stakeholders report annually on the progress they’ve made on these commitments.
In their Cooperation Frameworks, the ten New Alliance countries have committed to 213 policy changes across a range of agriculture and food security issues, aligned with each country’s National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plan goals.
Through these policy commitments, governments are making headway on some of the most longstanding constraints to agricultural investment and food security.
Commitment areas include:
- Business enabling environment: Policies that facilitate sound investment, including infrastructure, tax reforms and access to finance
- Inputs: Policies that regulate the production, distribution and use of improved seed, fertilizer, pesticides and farming implements
- Land and resources rights: Policies that clarify and strengthen rights to productive resources such as land and water to protect communities and investors
- Nutrition: Policies related to key elements that can affect nutrition, including biofortification, fortification, nutrition policies and malnutrition treatment
- Policy institutions: Policies related to strengthening and supporting institutions that implement the vision, objectives and strategies of governments
- Resilience and risk management: Policies that build resilience and manage risk, especially important for ensuring resilient communities and sustained development for vulnerable populations
- Trade and markets: Policies that promote efficient and competitive domestic marketing and trading systems that are unencumbered by fiscal, regulatory and administrative barriers and supported by adequate infrastructure
Seven New Alliance country governments have included nutrition-related policy commitments in their Cooperation Frameworks. Each New Alliance Cooperation Framework includes at least one policy commitment dedicated to protecting land rights. Three New Alliance countries have policy commitments geared to improve infrastructure, and six countries have made finance-related policy commitments.
Development Partner Funding
In the ten Cooperation Frameworks, development partners have collectively committed to provide nearly $6.2 billion through the New Alliance in support of National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans. The duration of these commitments, noted in each Cooperation Framework, varies by development partner.
Letters of Intent
The New Alliance Cooperation Frameworks include public summaries of private sector Letters of Intent. Nearly 180 private sector companies, two-thirds of which are based in Africa, have signed Letters of Intent to invest $7.8 billion in African agriculture, $1.1 billion of which was realized in 2013.
A Letter of Intent is a voluntary document signed by a private sector actor outlining a commitment to invest responsibly in African agriculture. Letters of Intent are not binding contracts to invest.
Crucial characteristics of Letters of Intent include:
- Alignment with host country strategies
- Measurable investment targets, including a dollar figure to be invested and a number of smallholders to be reached, either directly or indirectly
- Development impacts alongside business bottom line impacts
- A commitment to socially responsible investment
- Commitment to the New Alliance and Grow Africa process
These targeted private investments simultaneously address core business interests and development objectives, through partnership with smallholders as critical market actors.
In addition to policy and investment commitments, the New Alliance includes Enabling Actions, a set of activities that support country-specific efforts and tackle global constraints to agricultural development, such as reducing and better managing risk, mobilizing private capital for food security, and improving nutritional outcomes.
These activities include:
- A new $28 million Agriculture Fast Track Fund administered by the African Development Bank to support the preparation and financing of bankable agricultural infrastructure projects
- An agribusiness index called the Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture, developed by the World Bank
- Establishing a $5 million Global Action Network to accelerate the availability and adoption of agricultural index insurance
- Supporting the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a multilateral trust fund housed at the World Bank that has grown to include $912 million in grant funds allocated to 25 countries
- Establishing a global platform to make reliable agricultural information available (now called the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative, led by the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States)
- Launching a $12 million Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Extension Challenge on extension services, managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development
- Supporting the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) to complete national agricultural risk assessment strategies conducted by the World Bank in New Alliance countries
- Launching the $47 million Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership, housed at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), designed to increase production of high-quality seeds by 45 percent in three years and ensure that 40 percent more farmers gain access to innovative agricultural technologies
- Launching a Technology Platform, implemented by the International Food Policy Research Institute, with a set of modeling tools that will assess the potential impact of improved agricultural technologies and be used to determine 10-year targets for sustainable agricultural yield improvements
The following Enabling Actions additionally put a high-level emphasis on a number of commitments to advance nutrition globally:
- Actively supporting the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement
- Improving tracking and disbursements for nutrition across sectors
- Supporting the accelerated release, adoption and consumption of biofortified crop varieties, crop diversification and related technologies to improve the nutritional quality of food in Africa
Read the latest New Alliance progress report for more details on Enabling Actions.
Accountability and Progress
New Alliance commitments are increasingly incorporated in Agriculture Joint Sector Reviews, the CAADP mutual accountability process. The Leadership Council provides a forum for mutual accountability and works to address high-level issues, but New Alliance progress ultimately depends on individual stakeholders to follow through on their commitments. Each organization making a commitment in the New Alliance is responsible for reporting on progress and challenges. Responsibility for oversight and implementation rests with African governments at the country level.
Tracking Poverty Reduction
Because poverty reduction is a shared commitment by all partners and progress cannot practically be attributed to any single program or initiative, the impact of the New Alliance on poverty will be measured, along with other efforts, through sector-wide Agriculture Joint Sector Reviews as part of the CAADP process. As reflected in guidance from the African Union Commission, countries will report against the CAADP Results Framework, to be finalized in 2014, and will measure results and impact through an Agriculture Joint Sector Review process. Although the Agriculture Joint Sector Reviews are still nascent in many countries, New Alliance results and contributions to sector performance will increasingly be captured as part of these reviews.
General guidance has been developed that recommends, at minimum, which countries hold annual reviews of progress that reflect New Alliance principles. Specifically, annual reviews should bring together stakeholders to:
- Transparently review, share and discuss progress and challenges toward Cooperation Framework commitments
- Generate a mutually agreed upon country progress report
- Assess overall progress toward and challenges to creating an enabling environment for responsible, inclusive investment, including implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines
- Identify key priorities for action and review new or revised Cooperation Framework commitments for consideration by the in-country lead group
Country reports have noted that the information shared through the progress reports and dialogue at stakeholder meetings has been extremely valuable. In fact, many reports mentioned the need for additional dialogue and information sharing in order to realize the objectives of the New Alliance.
Grow Africa is reviewing implementation of Letters of Intent through interviews with companies and public sector stakeholders.
Country Lead Groups
In many countries, a lead group is responsible for overseeing implementation and monitoring of New Alliance commitments. The lead group in each country may be part of a broader coordination body, such as an agriculture sector working group, or a team established specifically to oversee implementation of the New Alliance. Because many policy commitments span numerous ministries and there is a need for regular dialogue among all stakeholder groups, the structures that appear most effective in tracking implementation are those that include inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder representation.
Read more about tracking and results in the annual New Alliance progress report.