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About ELLA

Evidence and Lessons from Latin America (ELLA) is a knowledge sharing and learning platform, funded by the UK Department for International Development. The platform shares knowledge of recent Latin American experiences on selected economic, environmental and governance issues; It supports learning between Latin American, African and South Asian countries and provides a networking platform for organisations and individuals to link to Latin America.

What ELLA is doing

ELLA is synthesising knowledge of Latin American countries’ recent experience on more than 20 policy and practice issues in economic development, environmental management and governance. Some experiences are innovative, others are tried and tested. Themes have been chosen on the basis of topicality, likely demand and known contributions from Latin American countries. Practical Action Consulting Latin America is leading the management of the ELLA project. Under the ELLA project, ACODE partnered with Grupo FARO to do a study on Local Content in the Oil and Gas Sector in Africa and Latin America. Grupo FARO is an Ecuadorian think tank that seeks to support and strengthen the State, civil society and the private sector through the generation of participative research, collective action and informed dialogue.

Accomplishments by ELLA project since 2014
★ A learning alliance

An ELLA Learning Alliance is a mix between and online course and a community of practice that brings together policymakers, practitioners and researchers from Latin America, Africa, and other regions to engage in a programme of exchange and learning. The alliance promotes networking between individuals and organisations facing common development challenges. It encourages the initiation of collaborative efforts and works through an interactive platform, email updates, and events and meetings in several countries in Africa and Latin America.

ACODE and Grupo FARO moderated the ELLA online learning alliance on a theme local content in the oil and gas sector which started in May 2016 and ended in August 2016. The alliance had five topics to be debated by different scholars worldwide being guided by invited experts. Each topic took an average of two weeks after which a synthesis of the topic was produced by the respective moderator. Mr. Juan José Herrera was the lead Moderator from Grupo FARO and Prof. Elijah Dickens Mushemeza was the lead moderator from ACODE. A synthesis will be produced on what was achieved from the learning alliance.

★ A study tour

At the end of the ELLA online learning alliance, eight most active participants from Africa and two from Latin America were selected to go to Ecuador for the study tour. The objective of the study tour was to enable participants to experience firsthand the recommendations and knowledge gained from the Latin American experiences and to facilitate (south-south) knowledge and experience exchange between participants, hosts and people they interact with. The lessons from the study tour will be published.

★ Learning into Practice (LEAP) Awards

The LEAP awards are small bursaries (any amount up to $5000 U.S Dollars) that were given to three best proposals from study tour participants to support innovative proposals that used, expanded and drew on the knowledge, lessons, meetings, field visits, discussions etc. held through the Learning Alliances, Study Tours and other research uptake activities carried out in the ELLA Programme.

The objective of the LEAP awards was to support and promote the use of the lessons and knowledge gained through the ELLA programme, and carried it into practice. The LEAP awards support people in developing projects, plans etc. to further inform, influence or change policies or practices drawing on the knowledge, lessons, meetings, field visits, discussions etc. held through the Online Learning Alliances, Study Tours and other research uptake activities.

Dr. Sabastiano Rwengabo, a Research Fellow at ACODE, was one of the Study Tour participants to Ecuador. He also won the LEAP award. From his research before, during, and after the Study Tour, Dr. Rwengabo has published two research products: (i) a Policy Research Paper entitled “Efficiency, Sustainability, and Exit Strategy in the Oil and Gas Sector., The Paper draws important lessons, for Uganda, from Ecuador’s Oil and Gas Sector. (ii) A Policy Brief on “Prepare to Appropriate Associated Gas” which highlights the importance of incorporating infrastructure for the tapping and conversion of Associated Gas (AG), from Uganda’s oil and gas structures, to electric energy. The brief underlines the Ecuadorian experience with the OGE&EE (Optimización Generación Eléctrica & Eficiencia Energética) project alongside the operational areas of the State-owned Company, PEtroamazonas.

★ Transcontinental Knowledge and Information Community

First were region-specific, comparative, and case-study researches undertaken on Local Content in Africa and Latin America. Then followed meetings, workshops, conferences and visits in which networking, knowledge sharing, and interaction were fostered. Then followed Study Tours: for instance, several specialists working (undertaking research, advocacy, and outreach and capacity development) on Local Content in the Oil and Gas Sector, from Africa and Latin America, visited Ecuador to learn more about the steps taken by this country. Attention was paid to the long term planning and institutional designs undertaken to diversify Ecuador’s productive matrix in order to reduce overdependence on the petroleum sector. Important lessons drawn from this country experience have been circulated throughout the African and Latin American space (watch video).

Research Papers

★ Research Design Methods: This research design and methods paper is a working document, and the first stage in the conduct of a joint comparative research on local content frameworks in the oil and gas sector jointly published with Grupo FARO.

★ Regional Evidence Papers (REPs): This paper seeks to analyse how the Local content frameworks influenced the development outcomes of selected African oil and gas countries. The study was guided by the question ‘ what types of frameworks promote local content in African oil and gas producing countries and what have been the outcomes of these frameworks. ACODE did and published the African perspective of Local Content in the Oil and Gas Sector while Grupo FARO did the Latin American perspective of Local Content in Oil and Gas Sector.

★ Policy Briefs: These policy briefs were extracted from respective Regional Evidence Papers done by ACODE and Grupo FARO. ACODE’s policy brief is titled ‘Getting More out of the Oil and Gas Sector Lessons from Angola and Chad’ and Grupo FARO’s policy brief is titled ‘boosting the benefits from extractive industries through local content policies’

★ Infographics: The Infographics for the respective centres were developed based on the Regional Evidence Papers. ACODE’s infographic was titled ‘Getting more out of the Oil and Gas Sector in Africa’ and Grupo FARO’s infographic was titled ‘What do Local Content Frameworks look like in Latin America?’

★ Comparative Evidence Paper (CEP): This paper has been done jointly by ACODE and Grupo FARO. Its focus is on ‘what matters when it comes to Local Content? From the REP, it was established that countries that have emphasised National industry participation (Involvement of local companies and promotion of backward and forward linkages) have produced better outcomes in terms of skills development and job creation (employment). The case studies for CEP are Nigeria, Angola, Mexico and Brazil.

Impact and Lessons Learnt throughout the ELLA Project

The oil and gas sector demands involvement of many stakeholders to have a specific impact. The ELLA project has had significant impact and offered important lessons for the institutions involved and economies studied:

  • Progressive Local Content Frameworks are being developed. If positive outcomes are to be achieved countries need to continually develop and refine and implement progressive local content frameworks. The lessons of the ELLA project have informed Uganda’s ongoing process of developing a Local Content Policy.
  • Natural resource exploitation must as a necessity include addressing important governance issues, to be successful.
  • An enabling business environment is critical for local content provisions implementation.
  • Countries which emphasise national industrial participation strategy are likely to register better outcomes in terms of skills development and jobs created in the economies based on non-renewable resources. These findings have been shared with affected countries.
  • Strategic institutional building is critical for the realization of meaningful local content, particularly strengthening the National Oil Companies and enterprise centres.

Some of the impacts that the ELLA Project has had include: a). The process to publish the National Content Policy in the Petroleum Sector in Uganda has been fastened by the debates and dialogues organised by ACODE and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) and ACODE made an input in the same policy cactus of the ELLA project. b). The studies and findings on sustainable utilisation of petroleum revenues is informing debates on the trajectory of oil revenues management in Uganda c). The research on OGE&EE project is informing debates on the link between climate change responsiveness, green development strategies, and the possible greening of the petroleum sector d). Participants in the ELLA project have since constituted themselves into transcontinental networks and online groups that continue to share important information, lessons, experiences, and opportunities. A continuous stream of knowledge and information through online platforms that know no territorial and special limits.