The mindset of food leaders the world over has changed as a result of the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) of 2021. Food Systems represent a new framing for food, including decisions that are connected to each other in food systems. This makes policy related to food the remit of many ministries and agencies, with the challenge of alignment and coherence, but also generates more opportunities to act, actions that can leverage others and generate powerful positive feedback loops for a range of key outcomes for people, planet, and prosperity. And African leaders are at the forefront of this evolution.
Transformation is urgent, but there are few coordinated efforts to monitor all drivers, domains, and outcomes of our food systems—and even less that are committed to studying their interactions. In a world of commitments, goals, and objectives, what cannot be measured, cannot be managed. New food system monitoring mechanisms are needed, but without reinventing the wheel.
The Food Systems Dashboard (FSD) is the most comprehensive effort to gather, screen, organize, and link a large set of existing food system indicators for all countries, including the 55 in Africa. Existing African initiatives to track progress and identify food system opportunities and challenges offer valuable lessons to all regions of the world and can be further enhanced through the use of the FSD. With visibility on supply chains, food environments, nutrition outcomes, and environmental sustainability—the Dashboard can support the robust monitoring of food systems from farm to fork.
In anticipation of the 2022 AGRF, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have leveraged their existing partnership to produce this report to provide African leaders with cutting-edge data tools that can be employed to describe their nation’s food systems, diagnose the most urgent areas for action, and decide which evidence-based solutions best suit their needs. Intended to introduce new innovations in the sphere of food systems data, this report offers a window into publicly available and easy-to-use monitoring functions using the FSD. In doing so, the report takes the first step to apply these tools to the African context.
The goal of this report is to empower policymakers, businesses, and civil society who operate in and help shape food systems across 55 African countries. With the unique AGRF community, the insights here can be used to accelerate progress towards Malabo Commitments and SDGs alike in a way that both celebrates the continent’s rich biodiversity, recognizes its landscape of culinary traditions, and harnesses its agricultural potential to bring healthy diets within reach of all people.
The report consists of two linked parts. The first part describes the FSD and applies it to African countries. The second part discusses the implications of the work for on-going efforts to embed the monitoring of food systems within African institutions, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).