In Africa, it is not necessarily a lack of ideas or policies that constricts development but rather a lack of practical implementation frameworks and means of implementation that hamstrings development. Achievement of development ideals regardless of level of grandeur is not predestined. It requires partnerships between solutions providers, to blend the strengths of governments, the private sector, non-profits and other actors, as implied in goal 17 of the SDGs.
To date, gaps in fostering these partnerships have led to the perpetuation of the policy-action gap that has long stymied development in Africa. These are gaps in financing, in commercialization, in technology transfer, and in techniques, among others. It is in addressing these glaring gaps and optimizing the entire agro-value chain holistically that the Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) has been established.
Fostering partnerships, bridging glaring gaps for implementation

EBAFOSA was created following the unanimous adoption of the Nairobi Action Agenda and the constitution of the EBAFOSA by over 1200 delegates drawn from government and policy, the private sector, academia and research, international bodies, intergovernmental bodies, NGOs, civil society, women and youth groups, and individual publics from across Africa. This was at the 2nd Africa EBA for food security conference convened by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) and other partners on 30-31 July 2015. The unanimous adoption of these instruments set up the EBAFOSA as a continental policy platform to foster and nurture partnerships for implementation through branch action in each country.

EBAFOSA is the first inclusive pan-African policy framework and implementation platform, a solutions space that brings together key stakeholders and actors along the entire EBA driven agriculture value chain. These are stakeholders in government and the public sector, the private sector, academia and research, NGOs, CSOs, international organizations and individual publics at country and continental level. EBAFOSA provides the platform where these stakeholders can forge mutually benefitting partnerships aimed at upscaling EBA driven agriculture and its value chains into policy and implementation through country driven processes to ensure food security, climate adaptation, enhanced productivity of ecosystems and backward and forward linkages to supply and demand side value chains and value addition to create numerous income and job opportunities, especially for the youth who form 60% of the unemployed in Africa. EBAFOSA also promotes renewable energy investments, including expanding electricity access in rural areas particularly targeting off-grid and mini-grids (which are the most economical solution for electrification in remote areas) as well as main-grids to catalyze rural agro-industries. Through providing a platform for Business to Business, Business to Government, Business to Research, Person to Person, Government to Research etc. interactions, EBAFOSA catalyzes a building of synergy for implementation actions.

The EBAFOSA Approach
EBAFOSA uses a decentralized approach. This involves a continental hub operating the continental secretariat hosted jointly by UNEP and ACTS responsible for providing technical backstopping to EBAFOSA member countries through country level EBAFOSA national branches. The aim is to bridge gaps in optimizing the agro-value chain and promoting renewable energy investments to catalyze rural agro-industries through country led and prioritized actions. Some gaps will be simply bridged through peer-to-peer learning across the continental EBAFOSA membership, where successful applications in one country or area can be transplanted to other countries and locations. A good example in peer learning to bridge the technology gaps can be the zai (Ancient West African Farming Technique), an innovative EBA technology by farmers that is simple, low-cost, and accessible and has been refined over time.
Discovered and widely used in the dry Sahel region to improve soil fertility and moisture retention, and reclaim severely degraded farm-lands, zai has been used to effectively raise farm yields from virtually nothing to 300 to 400 kg/ha in a year of low rainfall, and up to 1,500 kg/ha or more in a good year. The zai is addressing degradation and productivity challenges that farmers in other arid areas of Africa face.
Through simple peer-to-peer interactions, facilitated through the EBAFOSA platform, Sahelan farmers can transfer these techniques to their Kenyan peers. However, these pockets of knowledge and solutions within countries must be mobilized first for continental exchange and dissemination, hence the importance of setting country branches.

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