Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
We wish all readers of the NEPAD Dialogue the compliments of the season. We hope the holiday ahead will be happy and relaxing and that the coming New Year will bring health and good fortune. This is the last issue of Dialogue this year. Publication will resume in mid-January and we can promise a year of change and excitement.
The NEPAD Secretariat has moved to : Block B - International Business Gateway Park, Corner Challenger & Columbia Avenues Midridge Office Park, Midrand 1685
New switchboard number : +27 (0)11 256 3600 Postal Address is unchanged : NEPAD Secretariat - P.O. Box 1234 - Halfway House, Midrand - 1685
In an attempt to promote the export of value-added products and generate jobs and revenue Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has offered investors free land. “Land should be given free,” the President said. “No question of rent. We shall recover it through creating jobs for our people.” This would boost the investment climate, he added.
The President made the comments while opening the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDC) meeting in Kampala on 9 December 2008.
The two-day forum brought together 30 European countries, the USA, Japan, South Korea and Mexico with the aim of addressing the challenges of globalisation.
OECD works closely with NEPAD to support African countries in developing policy reforms that strengthen investment and development.
During their meeting the delegates discussed investment on transport infrastructure and regional integration.
Transport costs remain high in Africa, accounting for 14% of the value of exports, compared to only 8.6% for developed countries. Currently, only 27.6% of Africa’s two million kilometres of roads is paved compared to 43% in Asia and 33.5% in Latin America.
“If we address this bottleneck, including adding value to our products, our economies will be doing much better,” said the President.
The Acting Chief Executive of NEPAD, Amb. Olukorede Willoughby, said African governments needed to develop consistent policies in a bid to attract private investors to the road sector.
“There is high risk involved and African governments need to give assurances, fight corruption, improve transparency and political stability,” he said.
Mario Amano, the OECD deputy secretary-general, said OECD member states were willing to share experiences with Africa on road infrastructure.
On energy, President Museveni warned environmentalists against sabotaging the building of hydro-power dams.
“Building a dam in Africa is a war. Everybody fights you,” he said. “Some so-called environmentalists talk of environmental protection when in Uganda we destroy 40 billion cubic metres of wood annually for firewood.
“Anybody who is a friend of Africa must talk of dams and electricity. If you don’t do that, I am not interested in you,” Museveni said.
Africa needs to use alternative sources of energy to attract investments and meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which call for the reduction of poverty by half by 2015.
“If we don’t develop electricity facilities, how shall we achieve the MDGs ? Are we supposed to use magic, witchcraft or what ?” the President asked. “Electricity together with transport will lower the cost of doing business and will open investment opportunities.” (Copyright The New Vision)
Source : NEPAD News, december 12, 2008
6-12 December, Joint NEPAD Terra Africa missions to Rwanda (4-6 December) and Kenya (6-12 December).
13-18 December, CAADP PP meeting, high-level meeting on agriculture and water declaration and the high-level meeting on the rising food prices, Tripoli / Sirte, Libya. Source : NEPAD News, december 12, 2008
A ministerial conference on higher education in Africa, with the theme : “Engaging African universities in the development agenda,” will be held in Lusaka, Zambia, on 23-27 February 2009.
Convened by COMESA and RUFORUM in partnership with NEPAD, FARA, CTA, FARNPAN and ANAFE, the international conference is a bid by stakeholders to bring together key policymakers and others to :
Mobilise political commitment for increasing investments in higher education in Africa ; Facilitate networking at all levels to spur and sustain high quality higher education in Africa ; Mobilise African universities to re-engineer their human resource development programmes through proactive engagement in the continent’s development agenda and to make their contribution to research and innovation ; Highlight the importance of higher education to Africa’s development. The conference will be officially opened by Zambia’s President Rufia Banda. Wbsite : www.ruforum.org Source : NEPAD News, december 12, 2008
An international conference on the AfrIcan Union/NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was hosted by the East Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) in Kigali, Rwanda on 27-29 November 2008. Opening the conference, the Minister of Agriculture, Christophe Bazivamo, said that the Government of Rwanda had much hope that the discussions would help small farmers who were the backbone of the economies of the countries represented at the gathering.
The president of EAFF, Philip Kiriro, said that the choice of Rwanda as a venue for the conference was in recognition of the progress the country had made with the CAADP initiative.
The impact of CAADP was already being felt, he said, not only in reviving the agricultural sector but also other sectors.
African farmers wanted to send a clear message to governments and development partners through the conference that they would like to see agriculture develop in a clearly and well elaborated policy framework.
"We don’t want to see farmers treated as beneficiaries but as equal partners in agriculture development," Kiriro said.
One of the conference objectives was to build capacity by linking farmers and development partners, government representatives, regional farmer networks, European NGOs and all the consultants involved in the CAADP process. It aimed to show farmers how they could benefit from the linkages.
The conference – with the theme "Domestication of CAADP and engagement of producer organisations in the CAADP agenda" — attracted participants from Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Source : NEPAD News, december 12, 2008
While rice and peas is a famous Jamaican dish, the country remains dependent on importing our staple food rather than local cultivation. Visiting the island during November was acclaimed African agricultural scientist Dr. Monty Jones who has been grappling since the 1970s with the challenge of producing new, tougher and more productive rice varieties, helping subsistence farmers grow themselves out of poverty and his continent further away from the threat of famine.
The visit of Sierra Leone’s Dr. Jones, executive director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), winner of the 2004 World Food Prize with his New Rice for Africa (NERICA) project and included by Time magazine in its list of the world’s ’Most Influential’ in 2007, comes at a time when the Government of Jamaica is experimenting with rice growing to help meet its objective of raising agricultural productivity and food security.
The Government has already enlisted the help of China and Japan, who co-funded the development of NERICA. Both have agreed in principle to provide grant funding and technical assistance, among other international partners.
Various rice varieties are being tested by the Ministry of Agriculture at its research facility in Bodles, St Catherine (which is being refurbished to house the planned Centre of Excellence) with lands earmarked for cultivation in that parish and St Elizabeth, should it prove feasible.
Under cultivation in Africa, NERICA has reportedly increased yields between 25 and 250 per cent and Jones believes that Jamaica with its regular rainfall should investigate the potential of domestic production to substitute for imports.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture food imports increased from a level of US$480 million in 2002 to US$652 million for the year 2007, up to the end of November. In fact, 61 per cent of food consumed in Jamaica is imported.
"I know very little about Jamaica but I learnt that rice is consumed but not cultivated. When I look at your rainfall and climate conditions I think that rice could also do very well here in Jamaica and get two crops per season in a given year because of your rainfall patterns," Jones told the Business Observer newspaper during an interview before he addressed the Scientific Research Council annual conference.
With FARA charged with disseminating agricultural research and development throughout the African continent under the African Union/NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), his experience is of interest to the local agricultural sector and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Jones said that although Africa is experiencing sustained economic growth, the benefits are yet to be passed on to the poor of the continent. However, with over 60 per cent of Africans involved in subsistence agriculture, expected rises in yields have the potential to substantially reduce poverty. According to FARA, a one per cent increase in yields will be met by a corresponding 0.72 per cent reduction in poverty.
With the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) reporting 231,200 Jamaicans working in agriculture, fisheries and forestry up to the end of April, Jones expects that increasing yields could lead to similar benefits throughout rural Jamaica.
"We haven’t really exploited the potential yet in Africa but rice is one crop where in the next 10-15 years we should be able to double the yield so that quite a number of countries will become sufficient in rice production and even export outside the continent," said Jones.
He said that the the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported that African rice production increased by seven per cent last year which he attributed to NERICA increasing the yields where it is being cultivated. Source : NEPAD News, december 12, 2008
A three-year agreement on support for bioscience networking via the BioFISA programme was signed by Finland and South Africa on 10 December 2008.
BioFISA — the Finnish-Southern African partnership programme to strengthen the Southern African network for biosciences — is a co-operation programme with NEPAD and the South African Ministry of Science and Technology.
The aim of the programme – the first tripartite project in Southern Africa – is to build up a co-operation network in the field of biosciences between universities, research institutes and NGOs in 12 Southern African countries.
It is based on NEPAD’s SANBio network and supports the exchange of information in the field of biosciences and the utilisation of indigenous plants through access to global markets and commercialisation of research results.
To support bioscience research NEPAD has launched a research programme, including biodiversity research, biotechnology, and the harnessing of indigenous knowledge and technologies. Four research networks have been established in Africa, including SANBio — the Southern African Network for Biosciences.
One of the key goals of the BioFISA research network is the development of public-private cooperation.
The BioFISA project, which will be launched at the beginning of 2009, will support the research activities and utilisation of the results of SANBio in the following fields of biosciences : the development of anti-inflammatories for the treatment of HIV with reasonable user prices, the research of the biodiversity of inland freshwater fishes in Southern Africa, and the development of mushroom production.
Agriculture constitutes 35 per cent of the gross national income on the African continent, 40 per cent of the exports, and offers employment to 70 per cent of the labour force.
However, agriculture has failed to respond to the increased demand resulting from population growth. In addition, agricultural production is further burdened by natural catastrophes, overgrazing, and the impact of climate change. Consequently, the African nations are now investing in scientific research in the field of biosciences.
Biosciences form an extensive area of research, including efforts to develop more durable crops with higher yields, cattle with higher resistance to diseases, more advanced disease diagnostics, and more accurately targeted medicines and vaccines. Source : NEPAD News, december 12, 2008
A workshop of top civil servants, members of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and development partners, convened by NEPAD in Pretoria, South Africa, on 4-5 December 2008, endorsed the tracking system report on agriculture expenditure in 2007.
The report arises from the adoption by the 2003 African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the adoption of a resolution to encourage member countries to commit at least 10% of the annual national budget to agriculture and rural development by 2008.
The AU/NEPAD was mandated to monitor and report to AU Summits on the progress made in achieving the 10% target.
With support from the World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), NEPAD conducted a comprehensive survey during 2008 to assess the progress made by African countries in complying with the Maputo decision.
The Pretoria validation workshop was convened to review, discuss and approve both the survey report and a guidance note on implementation of the tracking system and measures to accelerate national attainment of at least 10% allocation to agriculture development.
At the end of the two-day deliberations, the workshop : Endorsed the report, and reaffirmed the importance of increasing investment in the agriculture sector. Noted the inadequate progress by member countries towards meeting the Maputo 10% target. Only 19% allocate more than 10% of the national expenditure to agriculture development and most countries (57%) continue to spend less than 5%. Observed that the current tracking system is narrow and does not capture and analyse all key components, including budget allocations in line with CAADP priorities. Noted that many African countries are not submitting data to enable AU/NEPAD to monitor compliance with 2003 AU-Maputo decision. Appreciated that the current data collection methodology is inadequate to facilitate timely preparation of reports and recommendations to influence decision-making. The workshop recommended : AU/NEPAD should provide the major findings and recommendations of the report to the African Union Heads of State and Government at the next AU Summit and seek their renewed commitment to the AU 2003 Maputo decision. Expand the scope of analysis of the agriculture expenditure tracking system, including budget allocations in line with CAADP priorities. AU/NEPAD should mainstream future tracking system activities in the work plan and budget and mobilise additional support from development partners and funding agencies. AU/NEPAD should develop an electronic data capturing system and build the necessary capacity to implement the tracking system. Source : NEPAD News, december 12, 2008
The “Abuja Declaration on Fertilizers for an African Green Revolution”, the key outcome of the AU/NEPAD Africa Fertilizer Summit (June 2006), calls for AU member states to promote national/regional fertilizer production using the extensive fertilizer raw material resources in Africa — natural gas, phosphate rock, and potash. In the past, production has only proven commercially viable in North Africa and South Africa due to unsuitable quantity and/or quality of the raw material and resources that are poorly located in relation to domestic and export markets.
Consequently, production has been concentrated in South Africa, which produces phosphate fertilizers, and North Africa where Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya produce both phosphate and nitrogen fertilizers. Morocco is the largest producer of phosphate fertilizers in Africa and the sixth largest producer globally.
Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have produced nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers in the past, but production has declined substantially in recent years and current production levels are unknown. Burkina Faso also produces some phosphate rock for direct application.
Successful expansion of fertilizer production hinges on regional not national markets
Recently there has been an increase in private sector initiatives for fertilizer production in non-traditional parts of the continent. Examples include :
An Indian company, Sainik Aryan Group, has been given approval to build a US $500 million potash mine in Ethiopia ; Notore, the largest ammonia/urea plant in sub-Saharan Africa located in Nigeria, is poised to begin production of nitrogen-based fertilizers in December 2008 ; The Mozambique Fertilizer Company (MFC) began operations in mid-2007 to blend demand-based fertilizer grades ; Negotiations are underway between Mozambique, South Africa and India to set up a fertilizer production complex in South Africa, with natural gas to be supplied from Mozambique. The entire output of the plant will be exported to India under a buyback arrangement ; An agreement has been reached in Senegal for a consortium led by the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) to take over the Industries Chimiques du Senegal (ICS) and refurbish its production facilities to raise output to capacity levels.
However in all of these cases production is almost entirely for export outside Africa. This is a reflection of the key barrier to increasing fertilizer production in Africa ; that in the majority of cases national fertilizer markets are too small to realize economies of scale in production.
A typical ammonia/urea manufacturing plant produces more than 550,000 tons of urea. In comparison, 40 countries have fertilizer markets of less than 100,000 tons a year, and of these, 25 countries have markets of less than 10,000 tons.
Investing in large-scale production facilities for individual countries is not possible. It is possible, however, to justify investments in a production facility for a regional market, and for export to world markets.
For example, a private investor could take advantage of the natural gas resources in Mozambique or Angola and invest in an ammonia/urea plant to supply the South African Development Community (SADC) market and export the surplus to Asia. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Commission for Africa (EAC) could think of similar investments for their regional markets.
A prerequisite for regional fertilizer production initiatives is the harmonization of policies and regulations to eliminate restrictions to trade based on fertilizer composition.
Future fertilizer production should focus on production of efficient fertilizers
A key issue to consider vis-à-vis future fertilizer production in Africa is the type of fertilizer products to be produced. According to IFDC, an international centre for soil fertility and agricultural development, approximately 75% of fertilizer products used in the world today were developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the United States.
These are high-analysis fertilizers with high nutrient content and many are well-known in the fertilizer value chain in Africa such as DAP, urea and TSP. However, these fertilizer products and their application methods are wasteful.
Typically a 50kg bag of fertilizer such as DAP consists of 18% nitrogen and 46% phosphate. The contents of the remainder of the 50kg bag (36%) is filler — typically lime or sand — which contributes nothing to plant growth.
These fertilizers often contain nutrients that farmers do not need but are paying for nonetheless. For example, continuing with the example of DAP fertilizer, a farmer’s soil may be deficient in nitrogen but not phosphorus. However, DAP may be the only basal fertilizer available to the farmer, so the farmer ends up paying for a nutrient (the phosphorus) that he or she does not need.
Therefore, as investments are made to expand fertilizer production in Africa, policies should be put in place to promote the production of ‘smarter’ fertilizer products that will use plant nutrients more efficiently. That such fertilizers are already available on the market should accelerate the adoption of the appropriate methods for the production of more efficient fertilizer products in Africa.
Examples of energy efficient fertilizers available on the market
An example of a more efficient fertilizer is the urea supergranule or USG that was developed by IFDC and introduced to Bangladesh in the 1980s. It increases yields by 15% to 25% while reducing expenditures for fertilizer by 20-25%.
Today over 550,000 Bangladeshi farmers use this fertilizer and the Government of Bangladesh and IFDC have agreed on a plan to expand the availability of the fertilizer to 1.6 million farm families.
This technology could be very suitable for rice-producing countries in Africa such as Nigeria, Madagascar and Burkina Faso, and in fact IFDC is in discussions with entrepreneurs in Nigeria to manufacture machines to produce the deep-placed fertilizer briquettes which are used instead of free-flowing urea granules.
A second example of an efficient fertilizer is one that has been developed by a company — International Carbon Technologies or ICT — in South Africa.
They have developed a fertilizer that adds valuable carbon to the soil without having to resort to using organic sources such as manure which can be bulky to carry and difficult to obtain in sufficient quantities.
Like the USG, farmers are able to increase their yields while using less fertilizer.
The way forward
The introduction of nutrient-efficient fertilizers has to be a key element of any strategy to promote national/regional fertilizer production in Africa in order to achieve the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) target of 6% annual average growth in agricultural production.
In addition to the more traditional approach such as tax incentives, a key component of government strategies should be national campaigns to increase the size of fertilizer markets. This is critical to expand and sustain commercially viable fertilizer production in Africa.
These national fertilizer campaigns should be accorded the same level of urgency as health crises such as HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis considering that one-third of the population in sub-Saharan Africa suffers from chronic hunger and one-third of the children are malnourished.
Increasing productivity by improving soil nutrient content through the increased used of fertilizers is an important part of the solution.
If nutrients that have been removed from African soils by crops to attain satisfactory yields and quality are not replaced, our food production systems will never become sustainable.
The success of the urea supergranule or USG that was introduced to Bangladesh in the 1980s is based on urea deep placement technology or UDP.
The technology was developed in response to the wasteful practice of most rice farmers worldwide who broadcast urea (nitrogen) fertilizer directly into the rice field, with the result that two out of every three bags of urea are lost to the environment.
With UDP the USG fertilizer is deep placed in the form of a briquette of compacted prilled urea instead of free-flowing urea granules.
The USG releases the nitrogen slowly to the rice as it grows, reducing losses of nitrogen to the air and water by 30% compared with 70% for the traditionally broadcast urea granules. Source : NEPAD News, december 12, 2008