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Sectoral Projects

Empowering Women in Agriculture (EWA) Initiative

Gender equality in agriculture is integral to Africa’s future growth and competitiveness. If agriculture is pivotal to Africa’s growth, empowering all economic agents for higher productivity and greater market access is key. However, because investment funds (government budgets) are constrained by competing needs, the empowerment of women must align with the overarching development goals of each country, region and indeed, the current global development imperatives. The past and current status of women in different agrarian countries calls for this rapid process of change.

In 2012, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) in conjunction with Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) and Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) coordinated the establishment of the initiative to Empower Women in Agriculture (EWA).  The EWA was launched at the 19th AU Summit in 2012 to support women farmers by promoting their access to key resources (land, finance, technology).  The overall goal of the EWA Initiative is promoting the advancement of women in agriculture and their involvement in food security by integrating their concerns and needs into development processes as well as increasing their access to resources and services. The goal will be achieved through the following two objectives:  (I) to promote and advocate for empowerment of women in agriculture; and (II) to build the capacities of African women organizations to effectively engage on issues of Women’s rights in Agriculture in Africa. 

EWA is designed around appointment of Champions who are HoS known for their commitment to women empowerment with H.E President Johnson- Sirleaf of Liberia.  Other Champions include eminent personalities and institutions that have demonstrated commitment to supporting Africa’s development agenda and women empowerment in particular.  The initiative has the support of several African Heads of states (HoS) as well as some private sector partners – Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Africa 2.0, Gender is My Agenda (GIMAC), Africa Media Initiative (AMI) and Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), under the coordination of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF). 

The EWA Initiative has also received renewed support at the 20th AU Summit with a HoS / Decision No. 473 stated as follows: “The Assembly further notes progress made in the initiative to Empower Women in Agriculture (EWA) with priority areas of land reform, leadership, access to inputs and knowledge, and pledges support for enhancing the role of women in agriculture.

In order to move the initiative forward, the following activities have been undertaken:

  • In 2012, ACBF commissioned a survey of existing literature on the role of women in agriculture.  The study reviewed the state of women in African agriculture, specifically, the policy and institutional framework and their implications for access to resources and rewards and in terms of agricultural development, food security and the larger continent’s development agenda. This study served as a baseline and catalyst for a more in-depth continent-wide study. The output is the WAG report that identified key variables that needed to be focused on in building strategic initiatives for empowerment of African women farmers. The WAG report and an extract on the EWA Gender Index Survey report was presented at the 20th AU Summit in June 2013.
  • In July 2013, to assist ACBF and its partners to better grasp and contextualizes the gaps in the empowerment of women in agriculture, for targeted intervention, the Mapping of Initiatives study was commissioned.  The study was to take a more in-depth and comparative look at specific problems facing women farmers in Africa. The overall objective was to identify existing initiatives aimed at women farmers in these countries; and build a framework for assessing the extent that they promote their empowerment. The study was broader and more comprehensive that the WAG Report but limited to some selected African countries to serve as a pilot for an eventual continental study. Eight countries were selected for the pilot study, Vis, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Senegal in West and Central Africa; and Ethiopia and Djibouti, Rwanda, Tanzania and Malawi in East and Southern Africa.
  • In August 2013, the other partner, FAS/GIMAC finalized the study on Members Local Initiatives and this served as an output to the Mapping Report.
  • Also, in July 2013, ACBF provided a FICAD facility to the Femme Africa Solidarité (FAS). The grant amount was US$250,000 with the closing date of July 31, 2014.  The purpose of the grant was to support the implementation of the related to the Empowerment of Women in Agriculture (EWA) initiative pre-program design activities.   
  • In November 2013, a Status Report on Preliminary Findings of the Mapping Study was presented on the sideline of Mo Ibrahim Governance Week in Addis Ababa.
  • In January 2014, draft findings of the Mapping Study were presented on the sideline of the 21st AU Summit in 2014 where an Action Plan was proposed and in In March 2014, the report was finalized and circulated among the relevant stakeholders.
  • In April 2014, ACBF commissioned national Think Tanks and individual consultants to develop the EWA Program document in the same pilot countries used in the Mapping of Initiatives study. Unfortunately, two of the countries had to be left out of the setting. These were Liberia and Senegal: Liberia could not participate due to the Ebola Crisis that erupted in the country in late 2014. Senegal had to be dropped as the Think Tank tasked with the individual country project development didn’t submit its report.
  • A draft PRODOC was submitted to ACBF in December 2014. After incorporating comments, the draft report was sent to FAS/GIMAC for comments in February 2015.
    • Also, an Executive Summary was presented to H E President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who participated in the G7. FAS President (Me. Diop) met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the same occasion.
    • Liberia was also incorporated following the end of the Ebola outbreak and the paper is currently been finalized with comments from the Lead Consultant. 
    • A Stakeholders’ Validation Workshop for the adoption of the EWA Program Document was held at the end of April 2016 and this report was produced: STAKEHOLDERS’ TECHNICAL MEETING ON EWA REGIONAL PROGRAM DOCUMENT (PRODOC)

 Tobacco Control Program

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) availed funding to The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), to advance evidence-based Tobacco Control policies in Africa.  A grant amount of US$8,540,407 has been provided. The purpose of the Grant is to strengthen African Civil Society Organizations’ (CSO) capacity to enable strong and well-implemented Tobacco Control policies across the region, and ensure that CSO’s work is better coordinated and more targeted. The specific objectives of the Grant include:  i) Strengthened partnership and coordination for effective TC policy making in Africa; (ii) Strengthened Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) capacity as effective agents of change to resolve tobacco control barriers in target countries; (iii) Centre of Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) actively and effectively supporting the implementation of effective tobacco control policies in 5 targeted countries in Africa; and (iv) Strengthened institutional capacity of the University of Cape Town (UCT), Economics for Tobacco Control Project (ETCP) to undertake evidence-based research and provide technical assistance to Governments for effective Tobacco Control.

In October 2015, ACBF received a Supplementary grant amounting to $6,169,246. ACBF will use the additional grant to (i) establish a sustainable method of tobacco industry monitoring in the African region; (ii) support the Government of Senegal to implement and enforce its tobacco control (TC) law; (iii) Continue supporting civil society organizations (CSOs) in the 8 selected countries and additional two CSOs capacity on policy and advocacy for the implementation of the FCTC.


The Tobacco Control Program is supporting sub-grantees in 13 countries, although ATCA, CTCA, University of Bath support actors in various African countries. The coverage is as follows:


Organization Name


Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA)

South Africa

University of Cape Town- Economics of Tobacco Control Project


Initiative pour l’Education et le Contrôle du Tabagisme (IECT)


Mouvement pour la Sante- GABON (MPS)


RAID Gambia


International Institute for Legislative Affairs (ILA)


Association Mauritanienne de Lutte contre la Tuberculose et le SIDA (AMALUTS)


Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)


Parliamentary Forum on Non Communicable Diseases (PFNCD)


Ligue Senegalaise contre le Tabac (LISTAB)

Supplementary Grant


Mathiwos Wondu YeEthiopia Cancer Society (MWECS)


Anti-Tobacco Network (ATN)


African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA)


Ministry of Health (MOH

United Kingdom

University of Bath

Key Achievements

  • UCT Publications in tobacco control, website link ETCP project within UCT is now a knowledge hub for articles 6 and 15 of the WHO FCTC
  • CTCA contributed to passage of TC law in Uganda, support a coordination mechanism in Botswana, trained enforcers in Niger and support the adoption of 5 implementing decrees in Gabon.
  • CSOs in various target countries advocating for the passage of the TC Bills and implementation of the TC laws and regulations.


The Coordinating Assembly of NGOs in Swaziland (CANGO)

CANGO is the only recognized umbrella organization representing all non-governmental organizations in Swaziland.   It is a non-profit-making association of non-governmental organizations whose primary goal is to improve the quality of life of people in Swaziland. At its 32nd Regular Meeting, in December 2004, the ACBF Executive Board approved a grant of US$ 1 million to CANGO to support phase one (2005 – 2009) of the project. Phase two of the project was approved for USD 1.3 million for the 2012 – 2016 period.

The Phase II project is called Coordination, Institutional Strengthening and Policy Influence Project (CISPI). The overall goal of the project is to strengthen CANGO’s institutional and human capacity to enable civil society to contribute to the development of policies and programs for eradication of poverty in Swaziland and to improve the quality and quantity of resources allocated to the poor. To achieve this goal, CANGO is pursuing two (2) specific objectives; a) Strengthen capacity of the CANGO Secretariat to coordinate NGO policy advocacy programme in Swaziland, and b) Improve the capacity of CANGO Consortia to effectively engage to policy making processes in Swaziland.

ACBF Management of AfDB Grants to the Government of Zimbabwe

Following the signing of the Letter of Agreement (LOA) with AfDB, ACBF is managing the disbursement of funds of four projects to the Republic of Zimbabwe having a total grant amount of about US$30 million. The three projects with a total grant of US$28 million managed by the Project Management Unit (PMU) established under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development are Capacity Building for Public Finance and Economic Management Project (CBPFEM), Youth and Tourism Enhancement Project (YTEP) and Governance and Institutional Strengthening Project (GISP).

The fourth project with a total grant of US$1.9 million managed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe is called Strengthening Institutions of Transparency and Accountability (SITA). ACBF is supporting the projects through mechanisms to facilitate implementation and ensure conformity of agreed compliance procedures.

National Institute for Legislative Studies Capacity Building Project (NILS CAP)

NILS- CAP is a follow up to an earlier ACBF intervention in Nigeria through the Policy Analysis and Research Project (PARP). PARP was transformed from a project to a permanent Institute created under federal laws of Nigeria. The transition from a project to an Institute was in keeping with recommendations agreed to by ACBF and the National Assembly of Nigeria (NASS) during the implementation of PARP. Having played a key role to support PARP as a national project, ACBF now supports the newly created Institute to establish a foothold as a regional Institute to scale up legislative capacity development in West Africa. The Institute is the first of its kind in Africa.

The project objectives are to (i) enhance the capacity of ECOWAS Parliament and NASS to effectively carry out their mandate and responsibilities; (ii) foster learning and sharing experiences and best practices among legislators across ECOWAS countries and (iii) enhance the institutional capacity of NILS to deliver the legislative capacity building and research services in ECOWAS sub region.

Capacity Building for The Parliament of Sierra Leone

In 2008 the Parliament of Sierra Leone sought for ACBF support to strengthen its institutional and human capacity to enable it contribute to reconstruction efforts and measures to address development challenges facing the country following the civil war of 1991 to 2002.InDecember 2008, the Executive Board approved a grant of US$ 2 million to Capacity Building for the Parliament of Sierra Leone.

The overall objective of the project is to enable the Parliament of Sierra Leone to effectively discharge its constitutional duties of legislation, representation and oversight over the executive. The specific objectives are to: (i) Strengthen institutional capacity of Parliament to enable it to provide an environment for effective legislative work (ii) Build Skills of parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to enable them effectively perform their duties (iii) Strengthen Parliamentary Committees to effectively carry out their oversight functions in monitoring reforms and policy implementation (iv) Institutionalize gender integration in parliamentary activities.

Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana