About 300 delegates comprising representatives from IFAD-funded projects in West and Central Africa, governments’ representatives and NGOs are recently completed a meeting in The Gambia to discuss how to continuously improve the performance of IFAD-funded projects and grants in terms of relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency; among other things.
It was the 7th Regional Forum for IFAD-funded Projects held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi from 12th to 15th November 2012 on the theme, ‘Result-based management for sustaining rural poverty reduction: lessons learned and challenges’.
Speaking at the opening of the forum on Monday, The Gambia’s Minister of Agriculture, Mr Solomon Owens, said the forum will lead to concrete conclusions and actions for enhancing the pro-poor impact of development interventions not only in The Gambia but in all the countries within our two sub-regions – West and Central Africa.
According to him, the four-day event will provide opportunities to share and learn experiences, best practices and innovations from all the projects from different countries as well as the other non-governmental participants.
The IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) Director for West and Central Africa, Mr Ides de Willebois, said as the theme suggested, IFAD is now focusing on management of projects, based on experience. He noted some best designed projects have failed because of poor management.
Weaknesses in project management can be attributed to weak overall results base management culture and competencies in many countries of the region.
Mr Willebois said in West and Central Africa, agriculture is the main activity and contributes to 30 percent of the countries’ economy and employs 60 percent of the population.
“Although its contribution to countries in the region is generally less than its share of the gross domestic product, the sector scores better than Sub-Saharan Africa countries as a whole,” he said.
He observed that many of the governments in West and Central Africa recognize the importance of investment in agriculture to stimulate growth for poverty reduction.
During the four-day forum, participants reviewed the performance and impact of IFAD operations on the livelihoods of the rural poor, in particular smallholder farmers in West and Central Africa; they also examined results-based planning, financial and budget management, effective partnerships, monitoring and evaluation, and performance and scaling up or replicating successes.
The objectives of the annual forum include highlighting and sharing the knowledge, experience and lessons that have evolved during the project implementation period, including areas of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the threats to further and sustained progress.