East and Southern Africa (ESA)

Camels at a water point near Wajir, Kenya. Photo by R. Gangale/ILRI
Camels at a water point near Wajir, Kenya. Photo by R. Gangale/ILRI
“Our collaborative work in the ESA region contributes to the vision for food, land, and water, in a climate crisis by contributing to sustainable management of these resources to ensure food security for the most vulnerable, enable adaptation to climate shocks, while contributing to economic development in the region.”
Namukolo Covic
Regional Director, East and Southern Africa

The region of East and Southern Africa (ESA) is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, and some of the most fragile communities as a result of frequent climate shocks and conflicts. Climate challenges, such as shorter and more unreliable growing seasons, are preventing the region from fully leveraging the potential of agriculture to drive sustained economic growth.

The CGIAR Regional Office for ESA, established in 2022, aims to work collaboratively through partnerships forged within countries across the region since the early days of CGIAR in the 1970s to enhance food and nutrition security in the face of a climate crisis. The new Regional Office has the largest number of projects, Initiatives, and funding within the CGIAR portfolio, across 19 countries from South Africa to Ethiopia.

A critical aspect of work in ESA is engaging and nurturing partnerships with regional and national organizations across the region. The ESA office engaged with regional partners like the AU on the continental CAADP process. This included strategic engagements with the African Union on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Partnership Platform (CAADP-PP). At the CAADP-PP of 2022, a joint event with the AU focused on “Forging collaborative engagement between CGIAR and CAADP”. The objectives were to: a) Encourage stronger participation of CGIAR in the CAADP process at country and regional levels; b) Strengthen knowledge among CGIAR regional directorates and country convenors on where the CAADP process is; c) Strengthen the ability of CGIAR to identify potential entry points for collaborative engagement at regional and country level. This has led to the development of a proposed modality for AU-CGIAR collaborative engagement that can now be leveraged to strengthen partnerships across different levels from country, regions and continental levels leveraging CAADP as an entry point for stronger AU-CGIAR collaborations towards impacts. This has opened opportunities for AU-CGIAR collaboration on the AU Common Position on Food Systems Transformation that uses CAADP as the framework.

A Regional Integrated Initiative on Diversification in East and Southern Africa (also known as Ukama Ustawi) was launched in 2022 to boost climate-resilient agriculture and livelihoods in 12 countries in the region, by helping smallholders intensify, diversify and reduce risks in maize-based farming systems through better access to agricultural diversification input support and services. Climate-smart innovations in agrifood systems are being identified for scaling-up throughout the region via the CGIAR Food Systems Accelerator program, launched in 2022 in partnership with 2SCALE. The combined outcomes of the Ukama Ustawi Regional Integrated Initiative and other Initiatives active in the region are already starting to show. A country focus on Kenya is included in CGIAR’s technical reporting for 2022.