Catalyzing Scaling in East and Southern Africa: Unlocking the Region's Potential

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East and Southern Africa, with its diverse landscapes, rich natural resources, and a burgeoning population, holds immense potential for economic growth and development. However, realizing this potential requires effective strategies to catalyze scaling in various sectors.

It is against this backdrop that Diversification in East and Southern Africa, also known as Ukama Ustawi invited its internal and external stakeholders to discuss Catalyzing Scaling in East and Southern Africa, as part of its ongoing works to foster innovation, invest in infrastructure, and promote regional collaboration which collectively can unlock new opportunities and drive sustainable growth.

Scaling Fund

“We endeavour to use this meeting to gain ground in helping to co-create the Scaling Fund as it is a concept at this stage. While we are together, we need to use this platform to garner input from this team,” says Dr. Inga Jacobs-Mata, Regional Representative of Southern Africa for the International Water Management Institute and Initiative Lead for Ukama Ustawi.

The sentiments were resounded by Dr Iddo Dror, Ukama Ustawi’s Work Package Lead and Program Leader, Impact at Scale, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) who used the gathering to announce the much anticipated Scaling Fund as well as to garner feedback, ideas and the proposed way forward from those present. The Common Results Framework, Dashboard (“first pancake”), as well as Reflect Adaptive Management were among the pertinent issues discussed.

“Ukama Ustawi strives to scale innovations and coordinate CGIAR and partner activities in the region through a scaling hub that uses the scaling readiness approach to inform, activate and bring to scale innovations that respond to regional or country demand. This gathering is important because it brings all the vital role players under one roof to hear about our newly launched Scaling Fund as well as to work together to see how we can make the most of it, add to the progress made and reinforce scaling challenges,” elaborates Dr Dror.

Urgency to scale

“Farmers can’t wait anymore. They keep hearing these eloquent speeches and strategies, but they are not getting anything that they can take and use immediately. This is where this workshop comes in to find the technologies and to scale them better,” says Mandlankosi Nkomo, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Excellence in Agronomy Work Package Lead.

Among the top takeouts of the workshop was that East and Southern Africa’s potential for scaling is immense, and by embracing innovation, investing in infrastructure, promoting regional collaboration, and enhancing access to finance, the region can unlock new opportunities for growth and development.

Governments, businesses, and communities must work together to create an enabling environment that nurtures innovation, builds robust infrastructure, fosters collaboration, and provides the necessary financial support – such as with the new Scaling Fund. With these concerted efforts, East and Southern Africa can emerge as a dynamic hub of entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainable growth.

By: Phindiwe Nkosi, Communications and Knowledge Management Expert, IWMI

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