The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) president has blasted African leaders for the slow pace in raising agriculture sector funding to 10% of their budgetary allocations as they committed themselves more than a decade ago.
Kanayo Nwanze, who was yesterday (Wednesday), awarded the first ever Africa Food Prize for fronting the needs of small holder African farmers in the global agenda said in an open letter to African Heads of States that:
“More than 10 years have passed since the Maputo Declaration, in which you, as African leaders, committed to allocating at least 10% of national budgets to agriculture and rural development – key sectors in the drive to cut poverty, build inclusive growth and strengthen food security and nutrition. Today, just seven countries have fulfilled the Maputo commitment consistently, while some others have made steps in the right direction. Ten years is a long time to wait. In less time I have seen projects turn desert into farmland,” he said.
Nwanze was on Wednesday announced recipient of the US$ 100,000 prize in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo during the forum of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRF). Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame joined Obasanjo in congratulating the first winner of the prize. Also in attendance was former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete.
The letter first circulated to Heads of State ahead of their 2014 African Union Summit reads:
“Judging from the daily outpouring of commentary, opinions and reports, you would think that there were two African continents. One of them is the new land of opportunity, with seven of the world's 10 fastest growing economies, offering limitless possibilities to investors. There is, however, this other image: a starving and hopeless continent, hungry and poor, corrupt and prey to foreign exploiters.
As Africans, we are tired of caricatures. But we are also tired of waiting. Waiting to be led toward the one Africa we all want: the Africa that can and should be. We know the real Africa, filled with possibilities, dignity and opportunities, able to face its challenges and solve them from within. Never has the time been more right for us to finally realize our full potential. It is within our grasp.
As a scientist, I am always interested in facts. Africa is a land rich in resources, which has enjoyed some of the highest economic growth rates on the planet. It is home to 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24. And it has seen foreign direct investment triple over the past decade.
As the head of an institution whose business is investing in rural people, I know that you also need vision and imagination. At the International Fund for Agricultural Development we have banked on the poorest, most marginalized people in the world, and over and over again these investments have paid off. For people, for communities, for societies. And more than half of the people we invest in are Africans.
More than 10 years have passed since the Maputo Declaration, in which you, as African leaders, committed to allocating at least 10 per cent of national budgets to agriculture and rural development – key sectors in the drive to cut poverty, build inclusive growth and strengthen food security and nutrition.