Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
Countries must not forget their commitments to help meet Africa’s development needs, even as they are trying to grapple with the current economic slowdown, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel D’Escoto, told the 192-member body as it began its discussion on 15 October 2008 on international support for NEPAD.
“As the global financial crisis deepens, so does my concern that our commitments may be undone. This would be an unforgivable reversal and bring shame on all of us,” he said.
Adopted by African leaders in 2001, NEPAD lays out an agreed vision of social and economic development on the continent.
In his most recent report on NEPAD, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that, within the context of the global economic slowdown and high food and oil prices, turning that vision into concrete results – as well as achieving the globally agreed anti-poverty targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – will require concerted leadership and efforts by both African countries and international development partners.
D’Escoto expressed similar sentiments, cautioning against “any retreat by the international community” in its support for Africa’s development in the midst of the current financial crunch, which might cause donors to cut back on some aid pledges.
“While it is understandable that political concerns and financial constraints at home might make us waver, we must keep in mind that this planet is our home and that Africans are our brothers and sisters. We cannot, as so often in the past, look away.”
He encouraged member states to use the debate as an opportunity not only to review the progress made so far, but also to reiterate their solidarity and determination to “weather this storm together.”
World leaders meeting in New York last month underscored the urgency of finding solutions to the major challenges facing Africa, and recommitted themselves to a global partnership to help the continent achieve the MDGs.
They also committed to strengthening their support for NEPAD and to “reinvigorate and strengthen a global partnership of equals… with the explicit objective of turning existing commitments into concrete actions.” Source : october 17, 2008
15-17 October, Training of agricultural journalists, NEPAD Midrand, South Africa.
17 October, Validation meeting for the 2008 UNECA/OECD mutual review of development effectiveness report, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
21-22 October, 9th meeting of the Regional Consultation Mechanism, hosted by UNECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
27 - 29 October, RUROFORUM Ministers meeting, Lusaka, Zambia. Source : october 17, 2008
“Agriculture is a way of life for the people of Sierra Leone. It is at the core of our efforts to prioritise agriculture. If we are to become, say, a net exporter of rice by 2015 and if we are to meet MDG1, we have to align CAADP with our national agricultural plan,” said Alpha Kanu, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Presidential and Public Affairs at the start of a national retreat on CAADP held in Freetown on 13-15 October 2008.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which was endorsed by the African Union (AU) in 2003, is an Africa-led and Africa-owned initiative and framework to rationalise and revitalise African agriculture for economic growth and lasting poverty reduction.
As part of the CAADP framework African governments have already agreed to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum 10% of their national budgets – substantially more than the four to five per cent that was previously committed.
The retreat – which also marked the launch of CAADP in Sierra Leone – was aimed at developing within the country’s CAADP processes, a framework and action plan for the formulation of the National Sustainable Agricultural Development Plan (NSADP).
Speaking on behalf of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the President of Sierra Leone, the Minister called on the participants to come with a clearly identified action plan for integrating CAADP into the NSDAP.
According to Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, the NSADP consists of policies, strategies and programmes for agricultural development in Sierra Leone.
“The plan highlights a range of short to long term goals that are aimed at boosting agriculture and food security in Sierra Leone. This new plan should be based on CAADP, the PRSPs (poverty reduction strategy papers) and the Millennium Development Goals”, he added.
The retreat brought together a cross-section of participants including officials from the Sierra Leone Government, the private sector, the Sustainable Agriculture Research Association (SARA), the media, farmers, local chiefs, development partners, AU-NEPAD and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Participants explored the ways in which CAADP and its focus on sustainable land management, increasing market access, increasing food supply and improving agricultural research can be integrated into the NSADP. Source : october 17, 2008
The Special Programme for Aquaculture Development in Africa (SPADA) –produced by NEPAD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to address the underdevelopment of fish farming in Africa – was endorsed at the 4th session of the Committee on Fisheries sub-committee on aquaculture held in Puerto, Chile, on 6-10 October 2008.
The meeting was attended by 37 member states of the FAO, including 12 African countries — Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Chad, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia — and the NEPAD Secretariat. Proportionally, Africa had the largest representation, indicating the continent’s commitment to aquaculture development.
The Committee on Fisheries (COFI), a subsidiary body of the FAO, is the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture problems and issues are examined and recommendations addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fishworkers, FAO and the international community.
The COFI sub-committee on aquaculture provides a forum for consultation and discussion on aquaculture and advises COFI on technical and policy matters related to aquaculture.
The following were the outcomes of this year’s 4th session of the sub-committee :
The NEPAD action plan for the development of African fisheries and aquaculture represents renewed commitment by African Heads of State and Government to aquaculture and offers the opportunity for aquaculture expansion in the continent ; SPADA was endorsed as the framework for FAO’s African aquaculture development because it is fully aligned with the NEPAD action plan ; NEPAD and the FAO called on development partners working in Africa to fully align their programmes with the NEPAD action plan and SPADA, in order to achieve efficient partnership in the implementation of aquaculture development on the continent ; NEPAD and African delegates called for more support in operationalising the Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF) ; The Network of Aquaculture Centres in the Asia and Pacific Region (NACA) pledged to work with ANAF through NEPAD to share information and techniques with Africa ; It was agreed that the SPADA be presented at the COFI Ministers’ meeting in Rome in March 2009, and NEPAD was urged to ensure full support from the African Ministers of Fisheries. Source : october 17, 2008
A continental workshop on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between European and African countries held at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ended with the endorsement of proposals towards an African template for EPA negotiations.
The discussion of the proposals, which were drafted by the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), was one of the key agenda items at the workshop, under the theme "Reaping the benefits of the EPAs ".
The endorsed recommendations for the template will now be forwarded to the African Union Commission for consideration in the finalisation of a draft template to be considered by African chief negotiators and senior officials, and for possible adoption by African Trade Ministers at their next meeting.
The request for the template was originally made by the Conference of African Union Ministers of Trade and Ministers of Finance at their meeting in April 2008. It is envisaged that the recommendations will contribute to the African Union’s effort to adopt a consolidated EPAs template for the continent.
The main aim of the two-day regional meeting in Addis Ababa was to take stock of the results of EPAs negotiations in the light of what African countries had hoped to achieve while at the same time evaluating how the progress towards the African Economic Community is likely to be affected by the EPAs.
In that context, in addition to discussing and improving elements proposed for the draft template for a pro-development EPA prepared by ATPC, the workshop participants also addressed pertinent negotiation issues including regional integration, market access, development, trade facilitation and services.
In light of the issues discussed, the following recommendations were made :
Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and member states, with the support of relevant organisations, should analyse the implications of emerging issues — including global financial market problems — on the implementation of EPAs and Africa’s development in general ; African countries and institutions promoting regional integration need to better articulate the impact of EPAs on the continent’s regional integration agenda ; ECA should assist in bringing all stakeholders on board the EPAs process and in developing a mechanism to respond to emerging issues that may influence the implementation of EPAs. African countries have for the last six years been engaged in two important tracks of trade negotiations : the Doha Round at the World Trade Organisation and the Economic Partnership Agreements negotiations with the European Union.
Given the broad objective of Africa’s integration, a key challenge remains how the EPAs negotiations can consolidate rather than complicate the regional moves towards the creation of a Common African Market.
As things stand the EPAs negotiations have resulted in interim agreements being initialled by individual African countries or groups of countries. These interim agreements vary across the countries and groupings.
The critical question now is how to salvage the regional integration agenda given the possible inconsistency between regional objectives and the way in which several African countries and their European Union trading partners are progressing with bilateral trade agreements.
The following member states attended the workshop :
Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The following organisations were also represented :
United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Food and Agriculture Organisation, the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission, the International Trade Centre, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the ACP Secretariat, the African Economic Research Consortium, the African Capacity Building Foundation, Organisation of African Trade Union Unity, South Centre, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, European Centre for Development Policy Management, Chambre Consulaire Régionale de l’UEMOA, Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and the Islamic Development Bank. Source : october 17, 2008
A conference involving African ministers responsible for mineral resources development and mining experts was held at African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 10 October, 2008 under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The purpose of the ministerial conference was to bring together the African ministers and African experts in mining and natural resources to brainstorm on some of the key issues for African mineral resources development.
This first AU conference of its kind aimed to :
Propose to African leaders a strategic vision and action plan for the efficient management of Africa’s mineral resources in order to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development in Africa ; Reflect on the adequacy of the mining regimes currently in place in Africa to promote broad-based development on the continent ; Evaluate the requirements for the development of African codes and guidelines on the rights and obligations of transnational corporation (TNCs), and for the improvement of governance, transparency, environmental stewardship, and social safeguards in the development of mineral resources on the continent ; Devise strategies to enhance the value chain and to improve the linkages between the mineral resources and other sectors of the economy ; Discuss approaches to improve local participation in the development of mineral resources ; and Consider strategies to strengthen forward planning and management capacity of African institutions, including capacity to negotiate mineral resources agreements and contracts. Africa’s leaders have long been preoccupied with enhancing the contribution of the minerals sector to the economic and social development of the continent.
The vision that mineral resources could be used to propel Africa to modernisation has been articulated in many African plans and development strategies at national and regional levels (e.g. Lagos plan of action, SADC minerals sector programme, Mining Chapter of NEPAD, the NEPAD Spatial Development Programme (SDP), and the Africa Mining Partnership).
The brainstorming conference was an opportunity for the African Union Commission to develop a concerted continental strategy rooted on broadening the economic base and developing not only direct "upstream" and "downstream" linkages between mining and other sectors, but also various indirect activities, particularly "sidestream" supply and support activities, and induced contributions to maximise development and social outcomes. Source : october 17, 2008
A five-year National Development Plan (NDP) is being prepared within the framework of Uganda’s national vision — endorsed by the Cabinet in July 2007 — to replace the poverty eradication action plan (PEAPs) implemented between 1999 and 2007.
This is being done mainly to provide an updated framework for budgeting, implementation of Government programmes and donor support, as well as provide more comprehensive national, sectoral and local government planning.
The transformation of the PEAP into the NDP is also intended to cater for emerging economic issues such as regional cooperation and emerging aspirations of leadership, for example, northern Uganda’s reconstruction challenge.
In the effort to draw lessons from the previous plans, an independent evaluation of the PEAP was conducted and the findings are being used for the NDP process.
The proposed theme for the NDP is Prosperity for all Ugandans.
The National Planning Authority (NPA) in consultation with other key stakeholders is spearheading the development of the NDP.
The key overriding objective of the NDP is to :
Increase household incomes ; Enhance quality and availability of gainful employment ; Improve the stock and quality of economic and trade infrastructure ; Increase access to quality social services ; Promote innovation and competitive industries — sustainable development requires innovations ; Strengthen good governance and improve human security. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) National Commission and the National Planning Authority (NPA) are in the process of putting in place a mechanism of ensuring that the plan of action (POA) is fully integrated into the NDP to see through the President’s commitment to his peers of implementing the plan.
As a result of this a workshop was held on 16–17 September 2008 in Entebbe, which involved the National Focal Point, APRM Commission, NPA Board and staff, APRM lead methodologist, APRM secretariat and members of the POA costing team.
The main objective of the workshop was to enable the NPA to appreciate, understand and own the POA as the focal institution for its implementation and to build consensus on strategies for integrating the POA into the NDP and other NPA activities.
The workshop was officially opened by Jachan Omach, Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
He told the workshop : “A five-year development plan will be operational in 2009 replacing the PEAP and I am tasking the APRM Commission and NPA to follow up on the President’s commitment of a US$ 1billion allocation in the 2008/09 budget and US$ 3.9 billion in the subsequent three financial years and his commitment to cooperate with his peers and development partners”.
The Minister emphasised the importance of bringing on board partners that were not part of the process of developing the POA but who would play an important role in strengthening monitoring and evaluation of the POA so that its outcomes and impact can be measured.
He also urged participants to deliberate and formulat solutions on how institutional structures can be strengthened to address poverty and population growth.
“Great attention should be placed on the population growth rate in the country in relation to services provided as this is one of the challenges identified in the POA”, said the Minister.
Recommendations were made by the workshop for the integration of the APRM POA into the NDP and other activities of the National Planning Authority. Source : october 17, 2008
Failure by successive administrations to exploit the full potential of agriculture was responsible for the food crisis in the country, Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua told the National Dialogue on Food Security, Cassava Production, Processing and Marketing, organised by NEPAD in Abuja recently in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.
In spite of its wealth of natural and human resources, Nigeria is still a net importer of food at an estimated cost of more than US $ 2-billion a year.
Analysts point out that the oil boom in the 1960s misled Nigeria about its national wealth. Before the oil boom, agriculture was the mainstay of the national economy. It was driven into a mono-cultural economy when oil was discovered.
A country with about 70 per cent of its population living in the rural areas where farming is the major occupation should have no cause to panic about a food crisis. But a mono-cultural economy, they say, "is like a disaster waiting to happen."
It was against this backdrop that past leaders had to initiate policies aimed at diversifying the economic base to protect the country from the vagaries of a mono-cultural economy.
The introduction of Operation Feed the Nation and the Green Revolution programmes in the 1970s and 1980s was aimed at restoring agriculture to its rightful place.
However, the failure to achieve the set objectives of these programmes remains the root of the nation’s problem today.
Speaking at the National Dialogue on Food Security in Abuja, President Umaru Yar’Adua blamed successive administrations in Nigeria for failing to exploit the full potential of agriculture for sustainable development of the nation.
"We are aware that the potential of the agricultural sector has not been fully exploited. Blessed with enormous arable farmland and manpower, Nigeria should ordinarily have no business with food shortage.”
The Government, he said, had taken urgent and pragmatic steps to diversify Nigeria’s economy, "not only by increasing our revenue potentials but also by opening it up to private investments in order to create more jobs and other new opportunities.”
"This is demonstrated by the fact that in the 2008 Budget substantial allocation is made to agriculture. We also recognise the importance of partnership with the private sector in order to ensure adequate protection for our farmers from various risks that are associated with agriculture and ancillary industries."
The President’s Special Adviser on NEPAD, Ambassador Tunji Olagunju, said the Abuja event was part of the series of interventions put in place by his office to address critical problems in the agricultural sector with the aim of engaging producers and investors on issues that created an unfavourable environment for efficient investment of human and material resources.
He added that meeting with the stakeholders would help remove any bottleneck that undermines appropriate policies and laws that can accelerate self-sufficiency in food production nationwide. Source : october 17, 2008