Resources for Institutional Architecture for Food Security Policy Change

Institutional Architecture Assessment for Food Security Policy Change (IAA)
The IAA was designed to provide a quick scan of the capacities fundamental to policy change in regard to the Africa Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).


Institutional Architecture refers to the set of institutions, their relationships and performance that determine a country’s capacity to undertake transparent, inclusive, predictable and evidence-based policy change in the agriculture and food security sectors.  Since 2013, in-depth institutional architecture (IA) assessments have been used by the USAID Bureau of Food Security, USAID Missions, local policymakers, and other key stakeholders to better understand possible constraints that could stymie effective policy change in countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya and regionally for the East African Community (EAC).  The structure of the IA was developed: 1) to cover the basic steps involved in policy development and implementation; and 2) to mirror the CAADP guidelines and structure.

The intention was that the results of an in-depth IA analysis could be used to identify opportunities for strengthening a country’s capacity to manage the entire policy change process.  The IA framework was designed to provide a quick scan of the capacities fundamental to policy change in regard to the Africa Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).  CAADP was initiated by the African Union (AU) in 2002 and was designed to help countries increase agricultural productivity by at least six percent per annum and achieve the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal number one, which is to cut hunger in half by 2015.  Participation by African countries is voluntary; however, if countries decide to participate they agree to adhere to the CAADP development process and values, which include: 1) 10 percent of the national budget should be allocated to food security; 2) planning and implementation should involve the inclusive participation of a wide range of stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society organizations; and 3) decision-making should be evidenced-based.

Institutional Architecture Toolkit

More recently, repeat IA assessments (i.e. in Kenya and Malawi) have demonstrated that this approach can be useful as both a process and a tool to help an inclusive set of stakeholders reach a shared understanding of the current strengths and weaknesses in a country’s IA and, build consensus around a set of key priorities and actions to strengthen the reform system necessary for managing a multi-sectoral food security program.  Africa Lead’s experience in Kenya and Malawi also suggests that periodic reviews of IA status, involving local stakeholders, can also be a useful tool for monitoring progress over time and exerting pressure for change.  Because of this learning, Africa Lead is developing additional, complementary tools and approaches based on the IA methodology which can be tailored to meet the specific needs, timing and planning processes of countries.

The purpose of the IA Toolkit is to provide a set of customizable and adaptable resources to help country-level stakeholders improve their institutional architecture:

  1. Assess IA capacity and performance in a participatory and periodic manner;
  2. Build consensus and buy-in around priority action items;
  3. Plan capacity development interventions and technical assistance; and
  4. Monitor results.
In addition to putting the steps in place to improve a country’s IA, the toolkit will enhance local capacity for assessing IA, as well as for prioritizing steps to strengthen the reform system. Enhancing a country’s institutional architecture will also serve to: (i) improve the policy dialogue process, (ii) score better on the Biennial Review categories (1) Commitment to CAADP Process and (7) Mutual Accountability for Actions and Results, (iii) improve National Agriculture Investment Planning, and (iv) improve capacities and readiness for a more effective Joint Sector Review.
Download Toolkit

IA Workshop Process