A 70-million dollar Africa Lead II project was launched in Accra to strengthen African leaders and institutions at the forefront of increased agricultural productivity and food security.

The project, aimed at promoting policy and capacity building programmes, is being funded by United States International Development (USAID).

Africa Lead II project builds on the success of the Africa Lead I project, which ran from 2010 to 2013, and continues to provide targeted assistance to support and advance the African-led agricultural transformation as proposed by the African Union Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Develeopment programme (CAADP).

The five-year programme forms part of USAID?s capacity building programme in sub- Saharan Africa and works to help realize Feed the Future (FTF) goals of reducing hunger and poverty by building the capacity of African agriculture professionals, institutions and stakeholders to develop, lead and manage the structures needed for the transformation process.

Africa Lead is an international development company, spearheading training of institutions to scale up and leverage momentum for food security in Africa.

The project was organized into three strategic areas of interventions, namely, improving effectiveness of institutional architecture for agricultural transformation; strengthening capacity to manage the policy change and alignment process; and promoting the effective participation of Non-State Actors.

Mr Jeff Hill, USAID Bureau for Food Security, said the programme was to build on the experience of the first one to ensure that people had the essential tools to facilitate the goals of the project.

He noted that the need for capacity building was essential and could not be with one programme hence the launch of the phase two.

Mr Hill acknowledged the achievements of Africa Lead in helping to realize expectations in Ghana and said he looked forward for better collaborations and initiatives.

The US government, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, aimed to scale up food security in Africa, operating across sub-Saharan Africa, and involving civil society including public and private sector institutions.

Mr Bradley Wallach, Acting Director of USAID West Africa Mission, congratulated the partners for their efforts to partner with Africa to build a strong agricultural base to improve food security in Africa.

He said Africa Lead had been helpful in bridging the institutional gap in the programme through capacity building and training workshops to ensure food security on the continent.

He announced that they had introduced new approaches to capacity building to strengthen institutions to achieve inclusive economic growth and food security.

Mr Maurice Lorak N?Guessan, CAADP Adviser at African Union Commission, commended Africa Lead I for its key role in supporting the implementation of the CAADP.

?In this continuous effort, Africa Lead I has been instrumental in supporting capacity strengthening of African Decision makers to design and implement food security strategies and investment plans; to provide training to strengthen the capacity of African professionals to assume leadership roles in their own institutions for moving the CAADP agenda forward, among others,? he added.

He stated that the launch of ?Africa Lead II? was timely as the year 2014 was declared by the AU as ?AU year of Agriculture and Food Security?.

?The year also coincided with the Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of CAADP that will lead us to review the progress made by CAADP during the past decade and identify the next actions to improve the delivery of the African Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

Mr N?Guessan said since 2003, CAADP had laid the foundations for accelerating implementation and investment into African agriculture and commended the project implementers for their continuous technical support. GNA

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