Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Agriculture and Food Security in Africa at the African Union summit

23 June 2014. THE African Union (AU) 23rd summit opened in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on Thursday with the official theme "Agriculture and Food Security in Africa".
Addressing the theme of the 23rd AU Summit, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said Agriculture and Food Security, are critical priority for Africa.
“If we get this right, it has the potential - along with what we do with the Blue economy - not only to propel us towards our goal of eradicating poverty and hunger in one generation, but also to contribute towards the industrialization through agro-processing and the development of infrastructure”, she noted.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma reiterated that agriculture and agribusinesses are critical to the empowerment of people, especially women and youth. “The Summit debate must look at the practical actions necessary to achieve this, including modernizing and mechanizing agriculture” she said. (see complete speech of the AUC Chairperson on the AU website.

The African Agribusiness Forum, held ahead of the 23rdOrdinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government, is meant to enhance private sector engagement and inclusive agribusiness transformation in Africa.

Commissioner Tumusiime said:
The last decade of CAADP implementation, has redefined and reshaped the critical path to the attainment of Africa`s agricultural transformation objectives. Mrs. Tumusiime informed the Forum that the recent AU Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1st to 2nd May 2014 adopted a Resolution endorsing seven Africa Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation Goals (3AGTGs) for 2025 for consideration by the AU Heads of State and Government, at their Malabo Summit.
The joint conference recommended among other things the need to enhance Public-Private Partnerships and Investment Financing for African Agriculture and called on stakeholders to establish and/or strengthen inclusive public-private partnerships for at least five (5) priority agricultural commodity value chains with a strong linkage to smallholder agriculture and to strengthen the capacities of domestic apex private sector intermediary institutions for inclusive facilitation and coordination to ensure engagement of the private sector in CAADP implementation.

In a key note address, the new AUC Head of Division of Agriculture and Food Security Mr. Boaz Keizire, highlighted the key opportunities and challenges for enhancing Africa’s agribusiness value chains and the outcomes of the AU Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development and Aquaculture.

Sibiri Jean Zoundi
, administrateur du club Sahel de l’OCDE, confiait à Radio France International
« Même si les engagements de Maputo n’ont pas été pleinement tenus, Maputo demeure un tournant majeur dans la prise de conscience en Afrique des potentialités du secteur agricole et de la nécessité de mettre en place des infrastructures modernes adéquates, notamment celles qui permettant de relier les zones de production aux zones de consommation. 
Difficile cependant de s’en contenter, surtout quand on sait que le continent injecte chaque année 33 milliards de dollars dans l’importation des denrées de bases dans un contexte de hausse du prix. Aussi la société civile invite-t-elle les dirigeants africains à passer «de la rhétorique à l’action».Selon M. Zoundi :
« Il faut désormais passer, d’une stratégie de sécurité alimentaire à une stratégie de souveraineté alimentaire, c’est-à-dire relever le défi de financement de cette souveraineté. Je pense que, les débats au sommet de Malabo vont beaucoup tourner autour de cette question, car les dirigeants africains savent bien que parler de la " souveraineté " n’a aucun sens si sa mise en œuvre doit dépendre du bon vouloir des partenaires externes, quelle que soit leur générosité!»
Opinion. AU summit in Equatorial Guinea unlikely to be guided by lofty farming theme
The summit’s final document, which will emerge on Friday evening, is understood to be a congested one but few if any of the decisions will have any focus on farming or food. This does suggest that summit themes merely carry symbolic value because they are hardly accompanied by an intensive agenda and sessions that seek to deal with the subject in a detailed manner. While this ought to be of concern to AU policy makers and implementers in the short-to medium term, the nature of the AU political decision-making system renders structured discussions around summit themes almost impossible. In the absence of urgent issue-based summits between the two annual summits, the agenda of the AU will remain congested and the assembly will be forced to deal with pressing security issues before it, while attending to summit themes in a validating manner without necessarily going into detail.

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