Knowledge management crucial for Africa’s growth

People working on laptop computers at K Lab
Copyright: Sven Torfinn / Panos

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  • A meeting discusses the role of knowledge management in food security and trade
  • It helped build capacity in accessing data and creating policy briefs
  • Knowledge management aids accountability and validation, says a participant

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[NAIROBI] Knowledge management is crucial for Africa’s socioeconomic growth and should be at the centre of the continent’s development agenda, a meeting has heard.
The observation was made last month (14-16 November) during information and knowledge management training workshop on nutrition security and trade organised in Kenya jointly by the Africa Union Commission, NEPAD Agency and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat.
Simon Kisira, head of strategy and knowledge management for NEPAD Agency, tells SciDev.Net that knowledge is integral to people’s lifestyles and therefore its creation, processing, storage and systematic transfer is necessary for ensuring transformative development of the continent.

“Knowledge management is key to addressing the various challenges our countries face.”

Pamela Akwap, Uganda National Bureau of Standards


“Conscious harnessing of knowledge and sharing is a fundamental way of unlocking our potentials and our connectivity anchored in lessons learnt for developing villages across Africa,” Kisira says, adding that such efforts could boost quality of lives.
The meeting was organised with technical support from the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management.
It brought together technical experts from 11 COMESA member states — Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe — working in trade, agriculture and nutrition security.
Kisira says that Africa can only drive its agenda in development through creation and co-creation of knowledge, sharing to open up learning, innovations and trade to address the many socioeconomic challenges dodging the continent.
According to Kisira, the purpose of the workshop was to strengthen conceptual value of knowledge management and interlinkages between nutrition security and trade, how to produce a range of knowledge products such as policy briefs, infographics, fact sheets on agriculture, food and nutrition security-related areas.
It was also to strengthen participants’ capacities in harnessing data, statistics and information, as well as enhancing their abilities in translating data into knowledge.
The workshop also addressed how to access and share data using various platforms such as the NEPAD knowledge management portal and nutrition security platform.

Pamela Akwap, a food scientist at the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, says that the lessons she acquired from the workshop will go a long way in enabling her manage and share knowledge for the good of policymakers and the general public.
“I learnt many things about advocacy, [and] preparing policy briefs,” she tells SciDev.Net. “Knowledge management is key to addressing the various challenges our countries face.”
According to Rebecca Arunga, programme officer at NEPAD secretariat in Kenya, knowledge management enables accountability, validation and sharing, noting that having the capacity to manage and share information could “enable growth and positively impact people’s lives”.   
This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.