Agricultural development: Africa wants to keep growing

By Marie-Noëlle Guichi , US Africa News. Updated 2014-04-11

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Agricultural development: Africa wants to keep growing
Agricultural development: Africa wants to keep growing

2014 was declared the 'year of agriculture and food security' by the Assembly of Heads of State and the Government of the African Union back in 2012. Currently, stakeholders in the African agricultural sector are meeting in Durban, using the 10th anniversary of the CAADP (actually 11 years, since it was created in 2003 in Maputo in Mozambique), to take stock. The target et at CAADP’s birth has been first, to get each African country to join in signing the Covenant; and then to devote at least 10% of its budget to agriculture, in order to achieve an annual growth of at least 6% in the agricultural sector. 

Model countries

At the time when the CAADP pauses to review the progress made during its ten years of existence, the observation has been more or less encouraging according to officials who have succeeded each other to the podium: 50 of the 54 African countries have launched the CAADP process. For the officials, this is quite a feat, with only Botswana, the Tunisia, Eritrea and Western Sahara missing. 40 countries have already signed the CAADP Pact, signaling their commitment to achieve the above objectives. African countries not yet signatory, but engaged in the CAADP process, are Gabon, Namibia, Somalia, the Algeria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Chad, Egypt, Libya and Congo-Brazzaville.

To date, only 28 countries have actually adopted an investment plan to enable them to achieve these objectives. About fifteen countries have reached or even exceeded the commitment of 10% of their national budget to agriculture. These countries, considered models today, include Kenya, Niger, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda, Nigeria, Burundi, Senegal, Mauritania, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Malawi, and the Central African Republic before the political crisis.

 Cameroon trailing

Cameroon, which allocates only 3% of its budget to agriculture, is far short of the target.. Even if it is welcomed for having finally signed the Pact barely two years ago.--i.e., many years after the creation of the CAADP, several steps remain still to be taken in order to appear one day among those countries which have successfully realized the vision set out at the start of the CAADP by heads of state and the African Union.

The meeting in Durban, where Cameroon is represented by officials of the Minader and Minrext, members of civil society, and stakeholders in the agricultural sector, provides a suitable occasion for representatives to copy best practices. The many forums offer the possibility to State and non-State actors to interact, express their views on what works or does not, take new directions, and redefine the goals for the next decade.

The conference is bringing together stakeholders in African agriculture — ranging from governments to the private sector, international development agencies, the African Union, civil society and regional economic communities. The issue requires engaging all social actors to reposition agriculture as an engine of transformation in Africa.

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