African Union Summit focuses on agricultural transformation and food security
Another theme for this year’s AU summit was the tenth anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). (Image: African Union)
The 22nd African Union (AU) Summit reinforced the AU’s commitment of transforming agriculture and achieving food security.
Centered on the theme ‘Agriculture and Food Security’, the summit was held at AU’s headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa and concluded on Saturday.
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the newly-elected chairperson of AU, noted that African countries should combine efforts in order to increase cultivated areas and improve productivity through the modernization of rural infrastructure, the promotion of agricultural research and popularization of the most efficient farming techniques.
While addressing the opening ceremony of the summit, Hailemariam Dessalegnthe, former Chairperson of the AU, said that progress has been made over the past decade in Africa’s agriculture and it’s time to renew the commitment to do more in the sector.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission at the summit underlined the need to improve human resources for agricultural infrastructure and research that would contribute to boost productivity on the African continent.
Zuma also stressed that Africa has yet to exploit its arable land while other continents have almost exhausted theirs, highlighting that the agriculture sector should be an engine for industrialization on the continent.
In this context, it may be noted that the AU Summit endorsed the establishment of an African working group on desertification and sustainable land management, to be convened by the Commission.
Meanwhile, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the AU Commission stated that due to inadequate funding, poor rural infrastructure and neglected agricultural research, the continent experiences some challenges in fully exploiting its potential to increase food and agricultural production.
Another theme for this year’s AU summit was the tenth anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).
In 2003, leaders of AU member states signed the CAADP under the auspices of the AU and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, with hopes of developing Africa’s agriculture and eradicating hunger.
CAADP is a pan-African framework for revitalizing agriculture, food security and nutrition, which aims to assist African countries to reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development.
Under this comprehensive program, African governments have made a commitment to allocate at least 10 percent of their national budgets to the agricultural sector each year.
As of the end of 2013, over 20 African countries have signed the CAADP, which also brings hope to the future of agricultural development.
Also, in a welcome move for Small Island Developing States (SIDSs) like Mauritius, the AU Assembly adopted the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy plan of Action Plan. It also retained the 2015-2025 decade as the “Decade of African Seas and Oceans”, and the date of 25 July as the African Day of Seas and Oceans, giving a boost to SIDSs in their quest for developing their ocean economy.
Finally, while discussing the report of the high level African Trade Committee on Trade Issues, the Assembly recognized that boosting intra-African trade, industrial development and economic integration are the most viable means for African countries to achieve structural transformation and sustainable development.