Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
28-30 May, Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICADIV), Yokohama, Japan. Source : NEPAD, may 30, 2008
Twenty-two more organisations were due to receive disbursements from the NEPAD-Spanish Fund for the Empowerment of Women during the week ending 31 May. The few outstanding disbursements will be completed as soon as all the pending documentation has been received by the NEPAD Secretariat.
The Finance Manager at the Secretariat is still finalising the process with the various banks involved and the Secretariat asks for patience as the process is meticulous and time-consuming.
Once again all organisations with pending documentation are urged to submit it as soon as possible and all beneficiaries are requested to acknowledge receipt of funding.
The NEPAD Secretariat thanks all organisations for their co-operation. Source : NEPAD, may 30, 2008
Keynote speech by Ambassador Olukorede Willoughby, Acting CEO, NEPAD Secretariat, at the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICADIV) in Yokohama - 29 May 2008.
Africans are increasingly consuming rice as a staple. Indeed Africa now imports 40% of its rice at a cost of close to US$2 billion. Africa’s imports are more than a third of the rice traded in the world. Clearly the New Africa Rice Initiative is likely to step up rice production by scaling up the use of new technologies at the continental level. Africa cannot continue to face the kinds of riots we have seen in West Africa as a result of increased demand and the escalating prices of this commodity.
We welcome the participation of NEPAD in the Steering Committee of the New Africa Rice Initiative. Rest assured that this initiative will receive the maximum support of the African leadership.
Indeed NEPAD sees this initiative as a milestone in addressing Africa’s food security challenges, especially when Africa is afflicted by the rising food prices. Increasing the productivity of major staples such as rice can therefore not be overemphasised.
Increasing rice production is indeed at the core of NEPAD’s commitment to poverty and hunger reduction as embodied in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) agenda.
This is the same message coming out of the recently released World Development Report where agriculture is seen as a fundamental instrument for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
This is good news. It demonstrates a wider shift in the international development community towards a rediscovery of the centrality of agriculture to improving livelihoods, securing food security and ensuring environmental sustainability.
The better news is that African leadership is not just coming to this realisation now, but is in fact firmly ahead of the game.
By positioning agriculture on top of the development agenda what we are seeing is clear resolve and determination by the African governments through their Heads of State and Government to advance a development agenda along a common vision and commitment to ensure that development targets on food insecurity and poverty — the Millennium Development Goals — are met. This resolve is also unambiguous on the role agriculture will play as key driver of the continent’s development agenda.
Indeed it is the growing poverty, vulnerability and food insecurity across the continent, and failure of previous interventions to have the scale and impact required to achieve the aforementioned goals that led to the determination of African Heads of State and Government to seek new strategies.
This determination set in the motion the development of CAADP within the context of NEPAD. The CAADP was endorsed by the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in July 2003 as the vision and framework of African governments and institutions to improve livelihoods and ensure food security and environmental resilience through an agriculture led growth strategy.
There is no going back on this agenda which is essentially driven by a shared commitment by the African governments to drive a genuine African development process.
With the evolving enabling environment, it is clear that the desired shifts in policies, development strategies and in attitudes is a feasible target and will underpin the large-scale transformation in Africa’s agriculture and rural development agenda.
The challenges presented are significant, but the opportunity to achieve real success has never been greater.
At this launch of the Africa Rice Initiative, we at NEPAD would like to share with you the following messages :
CAADP has moved from conception to implementation and has become a reality on the ground as more countries engage in the CAADP roundtables with support and facilitation by the Regional Economic Communities and the NEPAD Secretariat ; There are clear positive trends in growth in the agriculture sector and CAADP will be critical in consolidating and sustaining this growth ; The CAADP framework is also evolving as an important African-driven tool for stimulating and guiding alignment among both government and in-country partners and the development partners ; There is a clear strategy and vision for 2008 built on : Ensuring completion of quality frameworks (including the mobilisation of supporting coalitions and resources) to support the roundtables ; Ensuring the successful implementation of the first 15 CAADP roundtables. That donor and other non-government development partners need to be onboard and ready now, otherwise we are going to miss a great strategic opportunity to really move the agriculture agenda ahead over the course of the next 10-20 years. In addition, let me emphasise the resolve among African governments and indeed the supporting institutions of the African Union, including NEPAD, to make 2008 a year of CAADP with attainment of clear and significant successes on the CAADP implementation agenda.
I would like to underline that :
African leaders are fully committed to work through the NEPAD process to see the CAADP vision realised ; NEPAD, as a programme of the African Union, will continue to work closely with the African Union Commission (AUC) in the implementation of CAADP ; I would like to call upon the Japanese Government to join NEPAD and the AU in the implementation of concrete interventions that have been identified at the country level and regional economic community levels. Notably some of the following could be considered :
Agricultural productivity programme While addressing the long term productive capacity of the agriculture sector is in progress, there is urgency to focus on key commodities which have achieved significant successes in a limited number of countries and which can be scaled up rapidly.
These commodities clearly include the improved cassava varieties that have been developed by the CGIAR’s International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and NERICA rice, the low-intensity, high-yield and high-protein new rice varieties that have been developed by the West African Rice Development Association (WARDA), another CGIAR centre.
NEPAD would like to help spread the successes achieved to more countries within the next 5 years. We stand ready to join JICA, AGRA and other partners to follow up on the development of concrete programmes in support of national interventions. Indeed we applaud JICA and AGRA for taking leadership in focusing on rice as a strategic commodity for Africa.
We stand ready to work with you to focus on this initiative as a NEPAD/CAADP flagship programme.
Agricultural trade facilitation programme Let me also hasten to state that trade is key to the future growth of African agriculture particularly, inter and intra Africa trade. Indeed in the wake of the current rising food prices NEPAD would like to work with partners and with RECs and their member countries over the next 12 months to develop an agricultural trade facilitation programme particularly around staples such as rice.
Within the context of the initiative that is being launched today, we would welcome support to RECs to :
Design and implement systems of agricultural sector and trade policy surveillance to effectively monitor and remove barriers to trans-border commodity movement and increase transparency in regional markets ; Develop capacities to collect and disseminate information on regional trade flows as well as study trends and outlooks in regional commodity markets. Disaster prevention and emergency management programme NEPAD would also welcome support from development partners to work with RECs and their member countries over the next 12 months to develop regional strategies and implementable action plans to better manage shocks.
The strategies would be centred on two main pillars :
Building stronger capacities to anticipate shocks ; Creating a policy and institutional environment to reduce both the amplitude of shocks and the cost of responding to them, as well as align emergency strategies with long term development efforts. The programme will combine, wherever justified and feasible, early warning systems, insurance and other weather-based risk management instruments, food reserve systems, and local safety net mechanisms.
Financing the agriculture sector Mobilisation of donor resources remains a major challenge. NEPAD/AU is appealing to development partners to reverse the trend in development support to the agriculture sector. On this mission, I would like to appeal to partners to increase support to implement early actions and investments that have been agreed upon more particularly :
Promoting small-scale sustainable land management practices and water harvesting techniques ; Soil fertility restoration through agro-forestry and mineral fertilizers ; Seed multiplication, engendering and democratising agricultural production ; Facilitation of micro financing, enhancing and diversifying livelihood opportunities for vulnerable groups including youth and women ; the extension of grants, loan/grant mix and smart subsidies targeting women, willing youth and the small-scale farmer without acceptable collateral. While giving focus to rice , let us not forget other African staples. NEPAD stands ready to work with other partners and RECs to promote, legumes, maize, cotton, oil palm, beef, dairy, poultry and fisheries products as strategic commodities at the continental level, and cassava, sorghum and millet at sub-regional level, without prejudice to focused attention being given also to products of particular national importance. We would welcome JICA and AGRA to consider these other African commodities.
Indeed the AUC and NEPAD stand ready to facilitate the attainment of continental self-reliance by 2015 for the following : rice, maize, sorghum/millet and cassava, oil palm, beef, poultry, aquaculture (tilapia/cat fish) ; and to process 50% of cotton produced in Africa while also making efforts to rapidly increase the share of local processing for other commodities.
CAADP is alive and well and impact is already being felt in terms of sector growth, government and partner alignment. It is already a success story !
The presence of the partners here and its citation on the TICADIV agenda speaks volumes of its support by the international development community.
There is a move to implementation at country level – and it is happening. Initiatives driven by the CAADP ethos are taking place at the country level and national governments are beginning to commit more of their public resources to CAADP.
There is a clear strategy and vision for 2008 built on mobilisation of resources to support roundtables and specific investments by the end of 2008.
Development partners and other non-government partners need to be on board otherwise they are going to miss a key strategic opportunity to really move agricultural growth in Africa over the next 10-20 years. Source : NEPAD, may 30, 2008