NAIROBI, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Agricultural specialists including government officials kicked off a two-day meeting in Nairobi on Monday to discuss the International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) approach to decentralizing its operations in Africa.
The meeting is focusing on IFAD-funded operations in eastern, southern, western and central Africa and will inform an independent evaluation of IFAD's decentralization approach that is scheduled to be released in December.
"By understanding what has and has not worked in our decentralization process, we will be able to improve our individual country operations and, ultimately, be more effective in improving the lives of the rural people with whom we work," said Perin Saint Ange, IFAD's Associate Vice-President.
"On the basis of the emerging findings of the evaluation, IFAD will be able to strengthen its development effectiveness on the ground and play a more effective role in the countries where it works, strengthening results and impact for project beneficiaries, and building local capacities for conducting its operations," said Oscar A. Garcia, Director of IFAD's Independent Office of Evaluation.
IFAD began its decentralization process in 2003 and now has 40 country offices worldwide.
The process echoes a trend in several multilateral development institutions, such as the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which have strengthened their presence in countries where they run operations.
IFAD currently has 20 country offices in Africa, including a special regional service center for Eastern and South Africa including the Indian Ocean island states, based in Kenya.
Previous independent evaluations of IFAD's operations found that IFAD's country presence has allowed the organization to be closer to projects and programmes, has given it more visibility and has enabled it to draw on local expertise and talent. Enditem