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Priority Areas

The AAP has identified six interrelated priority areas to focus on:


Agri-food Systems

Humanity depends on agri-food systems for its survival and development. Agri-food systems constitute the institutions and people involved in getting food from farm to fork – from suppliers of inputs and services, to farmers themselves, to traders, processors, retailers and all others involved in putting food on peoples’ tables. Agri-food systems are increasingly multi-functional, often providing renewable sources of energy, ecosystem services, materials for construction, and many other resources that support human livelihoods. The evolution of agri-food systems are increasingly intertwined with energy, food, water and land policies.

Water, Energy, & Environment

The resources of water, energy and the environment are interdependent and require integrated approaches to research and implementation that recognize the cross-sectoral nature of both challenges and solutions. Achieving sustainability and wise use of these globally essential resources requires an understanding of the synergies among them as well as the trade-offs among competing demands.

Youth Empowerment

Young people in Africa face economic and social and challenges including equitable access to economic and educational opportunities. At the same time, youth seek more equal opportunities to engage in civic, economic, social and political participation. Research and programming for youth empowerment addresses these and other aspects of youth livelihoods through research and action that is led by, and inclusive of, young people themselves. Through youth empowerment initiatives young people will be included in effective and democratic leadership; build economic and social resiliency; and participate in policy reforms that will address their own future development.


Education is at the core of human learning and development. Societies and individuals learn through education at all levels to develop critical thinking and make responsible decisions that affect lives and livelihoods. Education includes all processes of human learning and development including policy and implementation so that the contexts for learning and teaching are sustainable and equitable.


Cultural heritage and cultural activities are essential resources for society and for human development. In the face of global challenges, cultural values and practices provide opportunities for creative innovation and make a connection with the experiences and wisdom of past generations. Creative cultural practices allow societies and individuals to foster human dignity, well-being and sustainability. Through culture communities can creatively identify and explore new approaches and frameworks in, for example: conflict-resolution and peace-building activities; youth empowerment; inter-generational dialogue; and human-environment sustainability.

Health & Nutrition

Nutrition is key to human well-being. Poor nutrition can lead to negative health outcomes that are widespread, and therefor to persistent development challenges. These range from under-nutrition due to deficiencies in energy, protein, and micronutrients (and high rates of infections) to problems of overweight, obesity, and non-communicable diseases, which result from poor quality, energy-dense and micronutrient-poor diets and low physical activity. Research in this area addresses all forms of malnutrition and the overall goal is to generate a rich body of evidence on what works to improve nutrition and health – and what does not – and how nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific interventions, programs and policies can be better designed and implemented to maximize impacts. Nutrition researchers often work in partnership with program implementers and policymakers to foster collaboration and integration across the health, agriculture, social protection, education, water, and sanitation sectors.