The continuing shortage of capacities of African forestry and allied institutions represents a major constraint to the analysis, design and implementation of effective forest management programmes. Gaps in institutional leadership and management, as well as in skills and knowledge to develop and facilitate effective and sustained uptake of available technologies, represent perhaps the biggest challenges for SFM in Africa today. In addition to these capacity gaps in technical forest and tree resources management, entrepreneurship (specifically at community level) and policy analysis capacities represent significant weak areas. There is therefore need for the development of strategic and technical human capacity in the institutions that drive the forestry agenda at national and regional levels.

The lack of capacity is also a hindrance to the domestication and implementation of international and regional instruments, including policies and agreements related to forests (dealt with in Programme 5). To enhance effective management of forests at national and trans-boundary levels, the provision of technical and financial support is needed towards national and sub-regional governmental and non-governmental institutions dealing with forestry. Investments are needed in terms of finances, technology, training, equipment, tools and information to enhance the capacity of these institutions to effectively manage forest and tree resources.

Delineation and goal of AFF’s work

In this thematic area, AFF, with appropriate partners, will work on identifying gaps in capacities, skills and knowledge at all relevant levels (government agencies, technical and academic training institutions, community associations, private business, etc.), and in developing and promoting tools and means aiming at increasing relevant capacities and skills, e.g. through training courses, teaching and education material, hand-books, technical publications, fact-sheets, etc.

The overall goal is to raise awareness and provide knowledge and skills to forestry practitioners, and those responsible for driving forestry development in various institutions.

Examples of subjects, challenges and opportunities to be addressed

Assessing gaps in capacities and skills; analyse qualitative and quantitative gaps in all relevant institutions and bodies to address both traditional forest and tree management practices and new emerging issues in forestry; key areas to assess include silviculture, tree seed improvement, community forest management, value addition and consumer requirements, protection against damage by pests and diseases, the roles and potentials of forests and trees in climate change adaptation and mitigation, and trans-boundary forest issues (hydrology, trade, bio-diversity protection, etc.).

Development of means to address the identified gaps; generate the knowledge required through studies, reviews and research – both based on activities carried out in AFF’s Programmes 1-5 (see above) and by other institutions; develop contextualized training materials (compendiums) and training modules; organise relevant training based on the compendiums developed by AFF, either in AFF’s own programme or by promoting use of such material by other training institutions.

Examples of ongoing and/or concluded AFF activities that fall under this area

  •  Oteng-Yeboah, A.A., 2016. Training module on effective engagement of African delegates in inter-national multilateral processes. AFF, Nairobi. 57 p.
  • African Forest Forum, 2014. Training modules on forest based climate change adaptation, mitigation, carbon trading, and payment for other environmental services. AFF, Nairobi. 106 p.
  • A Training Needs Assessment (TNA) was implemented in Anglophone African countries in 2015/6 to evaluate forestry curricula in professional and technical institutions in relation to current needs and emerging issues. In 2016/17, a similar TNA is implemented for Francophone countries.
  • AFF and the School of Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL) in Switzerland, have established a joint scholarship programme for capacity building of African scientists.
  • A series of training courses on Rapid Carbon Stock Assessment (RaCSA) were conducted in 2013 to 2015 training 357 trainers (ToT) from 12 countries. Additional courses organized in 2016 (71 people trained).
  • Agustino, S., Mataya, B., Senelwa, K. & E.G. Achigan-Dako, 2011. Non-Wood Forest Products and Services for Socio-Economic Development: A Compendium for Technical and Professional Forestry Education. AFF, Nairobi. 239 p.