Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
More than 150 high-level representatives from Africa, G8 and OECD countries met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 17-18 November 2008 to discuss priority actions to keep Africa on a strong growth track despite an increasingly unstable international environment, weakened by the recent global financial crisis as well as severe food and fuel price shocks.
Discussion centred on two key themes : governance issues in the context of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and development finance in Africa.
“With the current global financial crisis, we anticipate that many developed countries will perhaps be tempted to cut back on aid to developing countries, including Africa,” Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, told participants at the 11th meeting of the Africa Partnership Forum at AUC headquarters.
“If this were to happen, then it will exacerbate the already precarious situation especially in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”
Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, Chair of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons, added : “To meet the challenge of the turmoil, the entire world – the rich and poor, the highly industrialised and the emerging markets – must work together collectively and inclusively,”
“Good political governance and first class economic governance and management are indeed a must for our world now,” he said.
The German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, told the assembly : “In this situation, it is more important than ever for us to forge a functioning, global and equitable partnership. We need Africa as a strong player in that partnership.”
She also underlined the importance of the success of the upcoming Doha conference on fnancing for development, saying : “If it is possible to mobilise hundreds of billions to save the banking sector ; then the international community must surely be in a position to find the billions of dollars needed to save the world from poverty, hunger and climate change.”
Key messages from the meeting – which will now feed into international processes, including the Doha conference – were :
Emerging governance issues in the APRM process :
The efforts made by African countries to achieve good governance were commended. The APRM is recognised as a genuinely Africa-owned process that has already produced considerable results. It was felt that its voluntary nature was central to its success and relevance. Development partners declared their readiness to carry on supporting the APRM, while fully acknowledging the importance of African ownership. It was recognised that governance issues call for a long-term perspective and permanent tenacious efforts. It was generally felt that great care should be taken to maintain the momentum of this important ongoing process. Particular attention is to be given to efforts at the country level, towards the implementation of APRM recommendations through national programmes of action. In this regard, it was acknowledged that more means and financial support from partners may be needed. Development finance in Africa :
Underlined that the achievement of the MDGs by African countries is the basic premise of our partnership, and that a strong and functioning partnership with Africa is paramount through continued support for the AU/NEPAD development agenda and process ; Emphasised that the Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments should be respected, if need be with innovative financing, even more so now that the world is faced with financial crisis and economic recession ; Welcomed the reiteration of the need by development partners to deliver and maintain their commitments to Africa in provision of ODA, in spite of the expected negative impact of the current global financial crisis on G8/OECD countries. Political will is necessary to achieve this ; Stressed the need for both sides in the partnership to implement the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action on Aid Effectiveness ; Recommended that the APF in 2009, should explore the possibility of further studies/analysis of tax revenue in Africa, illicit financial flows, relationship between trade and development in Africa, and the possible impact on economic recession on growth in Africa, at subsequent meetings, as part of the monitoring function of the forum ; Welcomed the Tunis Communiqué, emanating from the recent meeting of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Governors of Central Banks, convened by the AU Commission, UNECA and the African Development Bank, on 12 November 2008 in Tunisia, and the positive outcomes in the declaration of the G-20 Summit held in Washington DC in November 2008. Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008
1-5 December : CGIAR annual general meeting 2008 — Investing in agricultural science : the best bet for the future, Maputo, Mozambique. 4-5 December : Regional stakeholder engagement workshop, Midrand, South Africa. Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008
The greater use of fertilizer – and the correct use of fertilizer – could trigger an African Green Revolution, give new hope to millions of poor farmers and free Africa from the shackles of food insecurity and hunger. It is the only strategy that will help Africa meet the Millennium Development Goal on hunger and the 2015 NEPAD vision.
This is the message for Africa, based on years of international fertilizer experience in varied conditions in countries as different and as far apart as India and Britain, Taiwan and the Netherlands.
The most significant change in crop production has been the more intensive use of organic and inorganic fertilizers and the consequent heavier load of grain bearing on the stem of the cereal plant.
Where there are adequate water supplies and sunshine, the plant has a good chance of absorbing large amounts of fertilizer but, as is well-known, successfully concluded application of such quantities is inhibited by the limited ability of the stem of existing varieties to remain upright until harvesting time.
This has led to the breeding of fertilizer responsive varieties thus heightening the yield ceiling. What is not always appreciated is the fact that our present usage of fertilizer is so meagre that great strides can be made in areas with adequate soil moisture to raise yields of traditional cereal varieties by means of this single improvement in crop production.
Conversely where there is insufficient soil moisture the adoption of increased quantities of fertilizers, let alone of the new response-potential varieties, would prove unproductive.
More profitable in areas of poverty and subsistence farming
A clear instance of raising yields through the greater usage of fertilizer, in the absence of any significant change of other inputs and prior to the advent of high yielding varieties (HYVs), is that of rice output in India since 1950.
Between 1950 and 1964 (the period of widespread introduction of HYVs of rice, millet, sorghum, wheat and maize) total food grain output rose by about 80 percent while the area under cultivation rose only about 22 percent. On the other hand the amount of nitrogen fertilizer distributed in Indian agriculture increased about tenfold over the same period.
Even so this enormous increase barely lifted India out of the category of countries unacquainted with the practice of concentrated use of fertilizers.
In the early 1960s an average application of plant nutrients of 7 kg. per hectare of cultivated land was recorded for India compared with 180 kg. for Britain, 250 kg. for Taiwan, and 250 kg. for the Netherlands.
For the same period the wheat yield in India was 800 kg. per hectare against Britain’s 4,000 kg/ha. India’s average rice yield was then about 1,400 kg./ha. while Taiwan’s was 3,200 kg./ha. These differences accounted for the varying levels of development indicators for the four countries.
Since fertilizer is a substitute for land, its application is likely to be more profitable in areas where the culture of poverty and subsistence farming are the lot of the producers.
To target poverty reduction and economic growth in an agrarian society where 60 - 65% of the population are resource-poor farmers and where fertilizer usage is less than 20 kg./ha. is tantamount to trying to carry water in a basket.
No continent or country has ever shaken off subsistence production culture, hunger, poverty, efficient farm and non-farm rural employment without ensuring adequate and timely fertilizer usage for soil fertility improvement and productivity growth.
One must, of course, question whether, in spite of the very low fertilizer usage, economic growth and poverty reduction can take place in a society where 60 - 70 percent of the population are dependent on agriculture and where fertilizer usage is, on the average, less than 20 kg./ha.
There is adequate empirical evidence confirming that no country has ever shaken off subsistence farming culture, hunger and poverty without ensuring adequate fertilizer usage for soil fertility improvement and productivity growth.
Solving Africa’s problems
Can organic sources of crop nutrients solve Africa’s problems ? In an ideal world, all sources of nutrients are combined in an approach called integrated plant nutrient management.
Farmers start with on-farm sources of nutrients such as manures, crop residues and legumes and then supplement them with fertilizers. In Africa’s case available organic materials are limited, and there is always a competing demand to use them for other purposes, such as fuel for the fire and for reinforcing mud buildings.
Fertilizers can provide the missing nutrients, which will also improve the balance among the required elements and thus enhance the plants’ uptake of nutrients from existing organic sources.
Because many people have moved to the cities and other growth centres and many others have been affected by diseases, Africa’s agricultural work force is shrinking. This is another reason why it is important to grow more and harvest more from each plot of land through appropriate and timely fertilizer usage.
Without adequate and timely fertilizer usage, farmers often cannot meet the food needs of their own families, much less those of a rapidly growing population.
To feed themselves and their countries, farmers will need to shift from low-yielding, extensive land practices to more intensive, high-yielding practices, with increased and sustained use of fertilizers.
As an agrarian continent, Africa cannot expect growth, increased production, productivity, food security and poverty reduction without the sustained incremental usage of recommended fertilizer use-rate and use-efficiency across the continent.
The adoption of recommended fertilizer use-rates and use-efficiency, in combination with other efficient use of other farm inputs, could trigger an African Green Revolution, give new hope to millions of poor farmers and free them from the shackles of food insecurity and hunger.
This is the only strategy that would contribute to Africa’s ability to meet the Millennium Development Goal on hunger that targets a 50 percent reduction in food insecurity by 2015 as well as the 2015 vision of NEPAD.
NEPAD has declared that the vision of economic development in the continent must be based on raising and sustaining higher rates of economic growth (7 percent per year).
To realise this vision, the African Heads of State and Government adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as a framework for the restoration of agricultural growth, food security and rural development in Africa.
Stakeholders have identified that addressing the fertilizer crisis will help accelerate agricultural growth, food security and income for farmers and, hence, the entry point for the socio-economic development of the continent.
This suggests putting in place a supporting framework for fertilizer use in Africa. Our future depends on recommended fertilizer use-rate and use-efficiency. Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008
Trade in West Africa is worth $20 billion a year, which is 50 times official current figures according to estimates from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
This is an indication of trade opportunities available to increase intra-regional trade to contribute to the overall growth of the region.
Speaking at the opening in Accra, Ghana, of a three-day workshop to assess the value chain of onions, shallots and ruminant livestock, the Chief of Party of Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (ATP), Ishmael Ouedraogo, said the trade potentials in West Africa have not been fully tapped because of a number of constraints.
These include tariff and non-tariff barriers which increase transaction cost and time ; transportation difficulties such as bad roads and harassment ; weak private sector advocacy ; and weak linkages among value-chain actors.
ATP is being funded by USAID with $16.9 billion to run the Agribusiness Trade Promotion Project, which aims at increasing the value and volume of intra-regional agricultural trade in the sub-region in order to achieve the 6% agriculture growth target set under the AU/NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
It is hoped that the four-year project will eventually reduce all the barriers that hinder smooth trade in the region.
For example, there is a big market for ruminant livestock since meat is consumed on a large-scale in the region. However, most coastal markets in the region are flooded with meat imported from Europe and North America, due to the fact that local slaughter of livestock is done in insanitary conditions with limited refrigerated storage for chilled meat. Live animals are also shipped in trucks which are ill-adapted for long distance transport.
Sheep, goats and cattle raised in the Sahelian region, therefore, comprise important commodities in the coastal countries of West Africa.
Cereals such as maize whether for human consumption as foodstuff, beverage and oil or for animal feed are of great importance in intra-regional trade. Commercial trade in sorghum and millet also has strong potential for development. Improved storage, processing, packaging and distribution are essential to the cereals value chain.
Onions and shallots are important ingredients in regional cooking resulting in an increase in cultivation and consumption. They have become the most widely traded raw vegetables in West Africa and are the cash crops of most farmers in the Sahelian region.
Currently, only seven West African countries — Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, Nigeria, Cote d’ Ivoire and Ghana — are benefiting from the ATP programme, which will later be spread across the region.
The Cognizant Technical Officer (CTO) of USAID in West Africa, Michael Wyzan, was among the dignitaries at the opening of the Accra workshop. Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008
Ten journalists from the French-speaking media in West Africa have just completed a two-week NEPAD “training the trainer” course in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The aim of this programme, which started in 2006, is to provide selected journalists with skills and techniques to use in training their colleagues.
Journalists came from Benin, Bukina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo to attend the workshop, which was organised by NEPAD in partnership with the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) and Deutsche Welle-Akademie.
The Abidjan workshop, from 3-14 November 2008, is the fifth to be organised by the NEPAD Secretariat and follows sub-regional workshops for English-speaking and French-speaking media in Southern, Central, East and West Africa. More than 250 journalists have been trained so far.
Two more training courses are planned for 2009 in North Africa : one for French-speaking media and the other for English-speaking media.
NEPAD is planning to bring all the trained journalists together in Johannesburg in June 2009 to help them create one of the largest communication networks in the world.
Said Louis Gnagbe, NEPAD media manager : “The promotion of knowledge is the best possible investment. In Africa and is a NEPAD priority.
“Since its establishment in 2001, the NEPAD Secretariat has put in place capacity development courses for socio-professional organisations all over the continent.
“The goal of the Abidjan workshop was not only to train the journalists in new techniques but also to enable them to identify the strategic challenges that Africa must take up in terms of finding answers to the many current ideological, food, financial, climatic, democratic and environmental crises.”
Guy M’bengue, chairperson of the NEPAD Business Group in Côte d’Ivoire, handed over diplomas to the journalists at the end of the workshop and thanked the trainer, Erik Houinsou, before praising “the initiative that guides NEPAD’s Communications Unit for the benefit of the African press.” Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008
A delegation from the NEPAD Secretariat led by Prof. Richard Mkandawire, Head of NEPAD Agriculture/CAADP will join six governors from Nigeria’s rice-producing states and 300 other participants at the Nigeria Rice Investment Forum 2008 in Abuja on 24 November.
The aim of the forum, organised by the NEPAD Business Group-Nigeria and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, is to create opportunities for setting up rice production and processing projects in Nigeria and West Africa and to increase opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The forum will be officially opened by Nigeria’s Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan. Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008
A four-day sub-regional workshop to increase national capacity to reduce hunger and improve nutrition in Southern and Eastern Africa was held in Cape Town, South Africa on 11-14 November, 2008.
The purpose of the workshop was to empower national leaders in food security and nutrition to take concrete action to reduce hunger and improve nutrition, and to develop national capacity to accelerate progress on this important dimension of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The key objective was to jointly prepare a draft strategic capacity development plan for food security and nutrition in Southern and Eastern Africa.
Additional objectives were :
To agree on a working definition of ‘capacity’ and ‘capacity development’ in the context of efforts to reduce hunger and improve nutrition. To identify priorities, opportunities and strategic pathways to develop capacity to reduce hunger and improve nutrition in Southern and Eastern Africa. To uncover and refine collective leadership, partnership, and stewardship capabilities in the process of taking action on a shared task. To review the draft guideline and enquiry tools for their usefulness in supporting the implementation of the food security and nutrition agenda at country level. Participating countries included : Angola, Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The workshop was organised by NEPAD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008
A policy discussion on the future of Africa’s fisheries and aquaculture development will be held at the Commonwealth Foundation in London on 24 November 2008.
Following the endorsement of the NEPAD action plan for the development of African fisheries and aquaculture by African Heads of State and Government on 25 August 2005, NEPAD and its partners have spearheaded investments in critical areas in inland and marine fisheries as well as aquaculture.
The purpose of the policy discussion in London is to help improve awareness of the challenges facing Africa’s fisheries and its economic growth through the management of fisheries and the development of aquaculture, and to identify policy constraints.
Brief analyses will be presented by representatives of the WorldFish Centre, NEPAD and the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA).
The meeting has been jointly organised by Prof. Trond Bjorndal, on behalf on WorldFish Centre, the Nigerian High Commissioner in London, and the Commonwealth Foundation. It will be attended by African High Commissioners and Ambassadors based in London, and invited guests. Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008
The management of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Collaborative Research Support Programme (AquaFish CRSP) at Oregon State University has released a request for 26-month proposals for the period 1 August 2009 to 30 September 2011 for one or two awards of under $400,000 eligible at U.S. universities or colleges to serve as lead partners.
The awards will focus on aquaculture and the nexus between aquaculture and fisheries. Fisheries-only topics will not be addressed.
Projects are envisioned to comprise many partners in a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional approach to solve a development problem.
Lead partners are expected to assume strong administrative and technical leadership for projects, be involved in advisory groups serving the overall programme, and form collaborative partnerships through sub-awards to host country institutions, NGOs, private sector firms, and other U.S. universities or colleges. Matching support (non-federal cost share) is required. Proposals will be peer-reviewed through an open and competitive process.
Applicants will select a country in Africa for operations and may involve other countries to broaden the potential impact of their results.
The AquaFish CRSP is a five-year programme awarded to Oregon State University on 29 September 2006 by USAID. The USAID goal for the AquaFish CRSP is to “develop more comprehensive, sustainable, ecological and socially compatible, and economically viable aquaculture systems and innovative fisheries management systems in developing countries that contribute to poverty alleviation and food security.”
* Documents can be downloaded from : http://aquafishcrsp.oregonstate.edu/rfp.php Source : NEPAD News, november 21, 2008