Low capacity the reason Africa is still poor Former South African president Thabo Mbeki and Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the launch of the report. Photo/GEORGE BARYAMWISAKI By BERNA NAMATA THE EAST AFRICAN Posted Monday, February 14 2011 at 00:00 Despite several instruments developed to make poverty reduction efforts operational and strengthen in-country capacity across Africa, states and societies capacities to deliver remains weak, thus limiting their ability to develop and rise above poverty, a report by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has revealed. Launched in Kigali last week at celebrations to mark 20 years of ACBF, the Africa Capacity Indicators Report (ACIR), finds that adequate country capacity remains a hindrance to progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), implementing poverty reduction strategies and optimising aid effectiveness. The inaugural report published under the theme Capacity Development in Fragile States gauges the status of capacity in 34 countries on the continent. The ACI has four dimensions including policy environment, processes for implementation; development results at country level and capacity development outcomes. Fifty six per cent of the countries are at low level, 38 per cent are at medium while 6 per cent are at very low level of capacity development respectively. Of the EAC countries, Kenya, ranked 4th is in the lead, followed by Rwanda at 5th, Burundi 13th, while Tanzania and Uganda are trailing at 20th and 21st positions respectively. At the level of capacity development; Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi are ranked medium, while Uganda and Tanzania are ranked low. In development results, the massive concentration is on the low level and we know that if we had built capacity for development results; Africa today would be developed. The most difficult area is capacity development outcome; what we expect to achieve collectively; we are concentrated62 per cent of the countries are at the very low indicator; this is our big challenge in the coming years, said Dr Frannie Léautier, executive secretary of the ACBF at the launch. The report states that large resource outlays, decades of technical co-operation and various forms of capacity development have failed to build sustainable capacity on the continent. The inadequacy of capacity has been a major factor in Africas not achieving its development objectives, such as MDGs. The above has been compounded by the challenge of a systematic measurement of results, building ownership, alignment of aid and providing for accountability, the report says. ACIR underscores that capacity is not only about skills but includes issues of governance, institutional capacity and capacity to manage and co-ordinate development assistance and democratic accountability. While the policy environment is generally strong, ACIR underscores that the gap in realising effective capacity relates primary to implementing initiatives that address skills shortages. It recommends better utilisation and rationalisation of existing capacity as well as improved mobilisation of resources to enhance overall capacity.