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Advocacy For Change: Making Industrial Policy Work for Climate-aware, Trade-driven and Food security-enhancing Agro-Processing

Gathering at five national meetings, East African stakeholders considered the way forward in ensuring that key agro-industrial policies promote climate-aware, trade-driven and food security-enhancing agro-processing. On this matter, they released five national research studies which will support their continued engagement with policy-makers through advocacy towards policy change. In addition, they started considering their possible contributions to the upcoming revision of the EAC Private Sector Development Strategy through adopting national declarations. Finally, they were updated on the status of agriculture in multilateral trade and climate negotiations.

August 07, 2018 | East African Community (EAC)

RELEASE OF FIVE RESEARCH STUDIES

Across the region, five National Reference Groups (NRGs) are engaging policy-makers in advocacy towards strengthening relevant agro-industrial prolicies. To support these campaigns, five research studies were released, proposing ways forward on the following policies: (i) Buy Kenya, Build Kenya Strategy (https://goo.gl/JREcXE); (ii) Implementation strategy for agro-industry in Burundi (https://goo.gl/c12sG2); (iii) Launch of a National Agro-processing Forum in Rwanda (https://goo.gl/6sAVv8); (iv) Revision of the Tanzanian Sustainable Industries Development Plan (https://goo.gl/ynvBcC); and (v) National Industrial Development Policy in Uganda (https://goo.gl/CFuhZa).

EMERGING POLICY IMPACT FROM ADVOCACY

In each country, policy makers updated participants on the progress towards integrating the recommendations of the above campaigns into policy. For instance, participants were updated about the implementation of the Buy Kenya, Build Kenya Strategy (BKBK) which - despite integrating elements of trade, climate and food security to varying degrees – raises concerns over its potential undermining impact on regional integration.

In Burundi, the new National Development Plan (NEDP) was approaching final adoption, following which the already drafted National Industrialisation Policy (NIP) would be finalised and considered for approval. Already, the draft NIP had benefitted from ADIR’s inputs as a member of the drafting team, who championned the inclusion of food security as a policy objective, synergies with existing climate policies on industry-oriented adaptation measures (road infrastructure, water management etc.), and leveraging trade capacity-building opporunities for agro-processing development.

Similarly, the ongoing review of Uganda’s Industrial Development Policy is drawing synergies across trade, climate change and agro-industry as advocated by SEATINI. Indeed, its strategic objectives prioritise: (i) food processing and value addition in agro-industry; (ii) boosting export competitiveness in value added niche products, supported by trade openness and integration; and (iii) environmental sustainability, e.g. through supporting clean production, investment in pollution controlling technologies, and incentives to recycling industries. The policy also acknowledges the relevance of UNFCCC, as well as its existing national policies on trade, climate change and gender.

In Tanzania, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is considering terms of reference proposed by ESRF for a baseline government study aimed to frame the review of the Sustainable Industrial Development Policy (SIDP), which SADC has recently pledged to finance. As per the ToRs, the Ministry confirmed that the review should build linkages between agro-processing development and other climate, trade and food security interventions. The launch of the formal review process was imminent, starting with the hiring a lead consultant in September.

Finally, advances were registered towards creating a National Agro-processing Forum (NAPF) in Rwanda, to be hosted by the Private Sector Federation (PSF). At the meeting, participants finalised a concept note which will soon be used to secure sustainable funding for the forum.

DECLARATIONS ON UPCOMING EAC PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY (PSDS)

The EAC is currently embarking on developing its new Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS), with the aim to create a conducive business environment that facilitates private sector competitiveness for increased investment, productivity and trade. Since the last PSDS of 2006, important regional developments have taken place and should be taken into account, such as the EAC Climate Change Policy as well as the EAC Industrialisation Policy which prioritises agro-processing. Expected to start soon, the EAC PSDS development process will involve national stakeholder consultations where the PACT EAC2 project intends provide inputs to ensure the new PSDS contributes to climate-aware, trade-driven and food security-enhancing agro-processing. In this regard, the project already produced a briefing paper (https://goo.gl/d7aef9) to inform the process. At the five meetings, participants also finalised and adopted national declarations which will be later submitted during the PSDS revision process.

WHERE ARE MULTILATERAL NEGOTIATIONS HEADED?

Importantly, the role of international trade and climate negotiations in framing the policy space for agro-processing policies should not be overlooked, hence participants were also briefed on the state of play of agriculture in these fora. Agriculture, which is the backbone of any agro-processing industry, is highly dependent on climate change and trade. Multilateral negotiations at the WTO and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) both cover agriculture-related issues, and can play an important role in framing policy space for its development.