The workshop was organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy (CIFAP) of the University of Minnesota, USA. Policy research institutions or think tanks support and influence public and private sector decisionmaking by conducting policy research, disseminating the results and engaging in advocacy for its use. They also act as catalysts for new thinking and new solutions to address current, emerging and potential future problems and offer a nursery of ideas on the direction policies should take. With its new role as a weaver of knowledge networks in Africa,
FARA will provide a continental forum for networking (catalyzing, connecting and communicating) among African policy research institutions. Affiliate members of AFAPP will be drawn from these and other institutions to constitute the research resources by which AFAPP can carry out its mandate. The platform will provide the opportunity for them to catalyze, connect and communicate thus complementing and adding value to the work of each other. The platform will also provide several venues (e.g. workshops, seminars, training, conferences) for “venting” or communicating research outputs to affiliates of AFAPP, policymakers, and the broader community of policy analysts. By providing a platform for promoting the production, dissemination and uptake of policy research outputs, FARA expects to enhance the contribution of policy research institutions to public policy in Africa.
A small group (15 – 20) of policy experts drawn from policy research and development institutions within and out of Africa with ample knowledge and experience in food, agriculture and natural resources participated in the 2-day workshop. The participants have developed an action plan that shows the objectives, outputs and activities to be implemented. It should also provide a structure and operational mechanism of AFAPP, potential sources of funding and a roadmap on the way forward with identified responsibilities.