By Prossy Nandudu
African leaders have agreed to end hunger and cut poverty by 2025 with the signing of the Malabo declaration at the 23rd ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union heads of state and government.
“Accelerated growth is essential if Africans at all levels are to achieve their aspirations for prosperity,” said AU Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
She said that its time for heads of state to put agriculture at the top of national development agendas.
A growing agriculture sector will result in greater food production hence creating opportunities for African youth employment in agriculture by at least 30%.
At the summit, African leaders committed to new priorities, strategies and concrete targets around agriculture-led growth to achieve food and nutrition security for shared prosperity for their people.
“The new targets will push governments to move faster in creating a policy and infrastructure environment in which agriculture can thrive and generate income opportunities at all levels,” added Zuma.
Some of the targets include increasing investment in agriculture include adhering to the CAADP compact which requires each of them to set aside at least 10% of the national budgets towards agriculture development, support intra Africa trade in agricultural commodities and services among other key issues.
“Once the above have been embraced by African governments, some of the money set aside in the budget, will increase African farms’ resilience to climate change and weather by 30% which will see more food produced for both home and sale,” adds a statement from African Union Commission.
Through CAADP, the African Union will drive and measure progress so that countries, and their leaders, are held accountable for results.
The declaration committed African leaders to a systematic regular review process, using the CAADP Results Framework.
CAADP is the agricultural programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which in turn is a programme of the African Union (AU).
It was established by the AU assembly in 2003, and focuses on improving food security, nutrition, and increasing incomes in Africa's largely farming based economies.
It aims to do this by raising agricultural productivity by at least 6% per year and increasing public investment in agriculture to 10% of national budgets per year.
“While their collective pledge is important, it is now time to move beyond words and for Africa’s political leadership to act. Africans cannot prosper on just hopeful summit declarations,” said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
According to her, Agriculture is Africa’s solution to long term social and economic development issues including food security, youth unemployment, gender inequality and climate change.
“A strong agricultural sector will provide employment and generate economic growth which means jobs and incomes for Africans,” said AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime.