All African leaders have agreed to cut poverty by half and end hunger by 2025, confirming their commitment by inking the doted line of the ‘Malabo Declaration’ at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government last month.
“Accelerated growth is essential if Africans at all levels are to achieve their aspirations for prosperity,” said AU Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
According to her, the time was ripe for leaders to prioritize agriculture in their national development agenda as it guarantees sustainable development. “Prosperity is within reach – it’s in our hands,” Dlamin-Zuma added.
Hunger has been said to be responsible for more deaths yearly than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined. Sadly, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of hunger in the world (24.8 percent of population), with 23 million primary school-age children having to attend classes hungry in Africa, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).
In a bid to address the issue, African leaders agreed to renew their commitments to the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process, Increase both public and private investment finance in agriculture as well as end hunger and halve poverty by 2025 through inclusive agricultural growth and transformation.
Other agreements include, boosting intra-Africa trade in agricultural commodities and services, enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate change variability and other related risks, as well as committing to mutual accountability to actions and result.
To ensure leaders stay committed to the cause, the African Union will through CAADP (an initiative working to boost agricultural productivity in Africa), drive and measure progress so that countries, and their leaders, are held accountable for results.
“While their collective pledge is important, it is now time to move beyond words and for Africa’s political leadership to act. Africans cannot prosper on just hopeful summit declarations,” said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The world’s second fastest growing region is holds the largest expanse of arable land, complimented with the youngest population globally, making a promising case for a potential agricultural boom. Nkosazana explains that agriculture is Africa’s solution to long term social and economic development issues including food security, youth unemployment, gender inequality and climate change.
AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E Rhoda Peace Tumusiime added that agriculture is key to generating employment and economic growth. She noted however that public and private sector investment in the sector was essential.