The 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in February 2010 adopted the Decision to integrate the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) into the structures and processes of the AU. The NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) was set up as a technical body of the AU replacing the NEPAD Secretariat.
The Assembly mandated NPCA to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of continental and regional priority programmes and projects and to mobilize resources and partners in support of their implementation. It also directed the NPCA to conduct and coordinate research and knowledge management, monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes and advocate on the AU and NEPAD vision, mission and core values. NPCA will conduct and coordinate research and manage knowledge to support and inform AU Institutions and Member States in policy formulation and decision-making. It is envisaged that this will accelerate the achievement of AU/NEPADs’ objectives and implementation of priority programmes/projects. An important goal of this service line is to promote effective networking between NPCA and its partners, including RECs, NGOs, and CSOs, private sector, bilateral and multilateral donors.
This new role associated with NEPAD will entail the following elements: a) introducing an internal knowledge management system and a learning and sharing culture in NPCA and among AU-related institutions, b) introducing a wide information and knowledge management system for easy access and dissemination of knowledge products; and c) strengthening NPCA’s capacity to undertake research and play a think-tank role for African development.
These three thrusts, together, will transform NPCA and AU in general into a knowledge organisation which leads rather than follows the debate on African development issues and the related agenda setting. This service line will also enhance learning from development practice and ensure that lessons learnt are fed into design and implementation of projects and programmes. Overall, the knowledge management function is critical for NPCA to perform effectively as an operational agency within the AU System focusing on African development issues. It will also ensure that knowledge partners actively engage with NPCA and contribute to the dialogue on African development and related programmes.
The NPCA has prepared a strategic plan which distinguishes the below 5 key thematic areas for sustainable development of Africa in the coming decades:
- Agricultural & food security
- Climate change and NRM
- Regional integration and infrastructure
- Human development
- Economic and cooperate governance
In addition, crosscutting issues are identified including Knowledge Management (KM) that underpin the 5 thematic pillars and are critical for realisation of the objectives. Knowledge Management is one of the focus areas for NPCA and coordinated by the Knowledge Management and Strategy Directorate.
UNDPs’ support for sustainable development in Africa is outlined in the Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF) under the responsibility of the Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA). For implementation and coordination of policies and programmes Regional Service Centres play a key role. The RCF outlines UNDPs’ focus on results-based management, programme implementation, knowledge building and networking, as well as ensuring effective delivery of regional public goods and services.
UNDPs Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) is the corporate sponsor of Knowledge Management in UNDP, ensuring that knowledge enhances organisational effectiveness and the quality of policy and programmes. In the Regional Centres Knowledge Management Team leaders are posted by BDP to support partners in the region. The RSC in Johannesburg acts as entree point for UNDPs’ support to NPCA, coordinated by the Governance Programme, which places priority on developing a KM framework to underpin work in the various thematic areas.
In 2011 NPCA and UNDP signed an MoU which outlines the areas for support, including Knowledge Management. In this context support for the development of the continental KM framework was agreed. This is done in a step-wise approach: in 2010 the KM Steering Committee was set up to guide and monitor the KM strategy development, in 2011 an internal KM audit of NPCA was carried out and in 2012 the KM policy analysis for the continental framework started.
The Framework is intended to facilitate monitoring of the implementation of the continental development plan on priority areas outlined by the African Union. In addition it serves to identify successes and areas where additional efforts are required and foster learning based on results and good practices by stakeholders, including governments, civil society, think tanks and the private sector. The framework will guide emerging initiatives and foster synchronisation between existing knowledge systems in the continent including NPCAs programs.
The Framework will outline the knowledge management processes at country, regional and continental level as well as the activities and tools required to realise NPCAs’ strategic objectives. It will have a policy and technical dimension including procedures, mechanisms, system and tools.
A web-based platform is central for accessing knowledge as well as interaction between stakeholders. For learning the web-based platform will be complemented with other knowledge exchanges mechanisms such as workshops, visits and seminars. The construct for the web-based platform will be based on solid principles, clear needs of key stakeholders and use of up-to-date technologies, including web 2 features. It needs to ensure systematic management of knowledge through a solid repository function and allow groups and Communities of Practice to interact via dialogue functions. Management and quality issues are to be addressed. Information and knowledge is residing in people and organisations across the continent. Hence it is needed to identify the knowledge resources and systems and explore ways to bridge gaps to optimize use of existing knowledge. The construct will also address the various levels of information namely intern in intranets, extranets for registered partner and public audience via websites. The construct will also incorporate seamless linkages with existing knowledge platforms used by NPCA Programmes.
The outcome of the consultancy will be a Report and Proof of Concept Model addressing the following points:
- KM needs of the various users and stakeholders in the African continent to address key challenges of sustainable development.
- A translation of user-needs into a functional design or ’construct’ of the web-based platform that addresses the dialogue and repository function, types of information, management and access issues and ways to ensure finding and managing information via codification and use of taxonomies.
- Specification of technologies for the platform as well as options to develop it including possibilities to use or adapt existing tools.
- Technical and administrative management arrangements of the platform as well as procedures to ensure effectiveness and quality of the knowledge flows.
- Overview of existing systems and tools as well as knowledge resources of key partners(type of content and accessibility) with a special emphasis on NPCAs’ Programs and options for synergizing content and tools.
- Overview of requirements to develop the web-based platform and use for knowledge generation, sharing and usage at the national, regional and continental level.
The consultancy will take place in the period August - December 2012 and includes interaction with partners to assess KM needs, systems and tools and key knowledge resources.