Friday, 27 November 2009

Africa-wide Conference to Discuss Strategies to Boost Agricultural Development

23-24 November. Addis Ababa—Over 70 participants including policymakers, researchers, development partners and donors, representatives of farmers’ organizations and the private sector participated in this conference.

The conference, “Exploring New Opportunities and Strategic Alternatives to Inform African Agricultural Development, Planning, and Policy,” was organized by the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS). Facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), ReSAKSS supports implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) of the African Union’s New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

The major aim of this conference at the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, was to assess countries’ progress in implementing CAADP, discuss what needs to be done in the future, and share experiences and success stories. To date, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Niger, and Senegal have surpassed the target of committing ten percent of their budget to agriculture, and most countries have made significant progress towards this goal. More than 20 countries have achieved agricultural growth rates of six percent or more.

“This conference comes at a critical time,” said Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, chief executive officer of the NEPAD Secretariat. “The CAADP agenda reflects a fundamental shift in the way Africa’s leadership looks at agriculture and its potential contribution to ending poverty and hunger and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. From the G8 Summit in L’Aquila to the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, CAADP has received international support and recognition for its role in putting agriculture at the centre of the African development agenda. In addition, countries are starting to follow through on their CAADP commitments, but we continue to face challenges related to implementation,” he added.

Interviewed during the NEPAD Tertiary Institutions Dialogue on 29th of July, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki explained that policies used to be defined by the binoom of African governments and external partners. Today there is a need to include the civil society, producers and research institutes/universities in the elaboration of sectorial policies.