ACBF signs $2,6m grant

HARARE - The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and Makerere University have signed a $2,6 million four-year grant for the implementation of the Economic Policy Programme (EPM).

The goal of the programme is to improve the performance of the public sector in eastern Africa through enhancing skills and competencies in economic policy management, as well as the strengthening of human and institutional capacity of the College of Business and Management Sciences at Makerere University.

“It is a constant and fundamental need for the progression of the continent. As we grant Makerere University for the fourth phase, we believe as we did in 1998 that economic policy management is an important factor in addressing the development challenges the continent faces,” said ACBF executive secretary Frannie Léautier speaking after the signing ceremony at the University.

She said universities and other higher education institutions play a central role as nurtures for the development of a critical mass of leaders and indeed drivers of change.

“Partnerships begin to have a new and deeper meaning when you have invested over a period of time as we have done with the EPM Makerere.

We are now looking for new learning experiences as the development challenges we face are of the past, the immediate and emerging,” said Léautier.

She  added that the organisation hoped that the EPM programmes will for some time continue to play an important role and remain relevant in the economic development of the continent.

Makerere University vice chancellor, Ddumba-Ssentamu said the underlying factor behind ACBF’s investment in these programmes was its dire need for human resources to undertake sound economic policy formulation and management on the continent as a critical mass of expertise remains to be achieved in addressing poverty reduction challenges.

Since 1998, ACBF has invested a total of $41 million towards supporting economic policy management programmes in seven universities with regional coverage on the continent, namely University of Yaoundé II, Cameroon; University of Cocody, Cote d’Ivoire; University of Ghana, Ghana; Makerere University, Uganda; University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; University of Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique and University of Zambia, Zambia.

Ssentamu said the EPM programmes have taught ACBF and its partners to remain an important vessel for incubating better skills for the public sector.

“Secondly that tailored curricula to address African specific problems can be achieved in a cheaper and targeted manner and, thirdly, that by improving networking capabilities knowledge and experiences between the EPM programmes can be shared,” said Ssentamu.

EPM Makerere took the lead in setting up the Economic Policy Management Network (Epman) and this has encouraged discussions over curricula development, project management, and setting up technology that allows for sharing teaching and learning methods between the seven EPM programmes.

EPM Makerere has since 2005 graduated 508 students. Countries that have benefitted from the programme include Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

ACBF was established in February 1991. It is the outcome of collaboration between African governments and the international donor community. Its mission is to build sustainable human and institutional capacity for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Africa.

ACBF’s vision is for Africa to be recognised for its socio-political and economic capabilities and endowments — a continent with effective institutions and policies acquired through sustained investment in people and institutions.

The foundation aims to become a leader, major partner, and centre of excellence for capacity building in Africa.

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