The Local Expert Network: where supply meets demand
Since its inception, SCOPEinsight has had the vision to unite stakeholders within agricultural value chains and strengthen the local ecosystem so that farmer professionalism is recognized and rewarded. As we see our tools being broadly implemented, we are also seeing the shift in behavioral led incentives. For example, in East Africa, many agribusinesses are paying for their own training to augment their professional acumen. In West Africa, agribusinesses are using SCOPE scores on professionalism to access loans.
However, in many countries, these BDS providers need to strengthen their own capacity by incorporating years of public sector investment and experience into their own service offerings. To bridge this transition from purely donor-driven service delivery to market-based service delivery, investment is still necessary. Therefore, with catalytic support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), we spearheaded an initiative (the Local Expert Network) to strengthen local BDS providers in five countries.
We are working with the Local Experts to ensure they have adequate capacity, as well as the experience to deliver SCOPE tools, to respond to the growing demand for skill strengthening within the countries they each operate. Of utmost importance to us is that a data-driven way of working is embedded in the experts’ approach to sector strengthening. The experts chosen, stand out due to their knowledge of the market where they operate, a proven track record of delivering complementary services to those offered by SCOPEinsight, and their drive to expand their business. Lastly, the local experts are a good link between financial institutions and agri-SMEs as they are able to help onboard banks to the bankability metrics and agri-SMEs.
So, through facilitating market mechanisms between service supply and demand, improving service provider capacity and stimulating demand, we ensure that a well-functioning service market is in place when donor projects are phased out.
We are thrilled to start this new journey with these Local Experts, and we look forward to further grow our network during 2021. If you are interested in learning more about these Local Experts, follow us as we introduce them through our Spotlight series in early 2021.