May 10th, 2013 12:10 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
In a few weeks, the UK government will host a major international event in London called Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science. Happening just days before the 2013 G8 Summit in Lough Erne, it will bring together governments, businesses, scientists and civil society to examine strategies that could improve the quality and quantity of food available to the world’s poorest people.
Back in March I attended a highly energised meeting of African civil society organisations in Ethiopia, who had gathered for Africa’s biggest annual forum on agriculture and where we launched our report A Growing Opportunity. We all agreed an urgent message needed to be sent to the international community before the June summit in the UK.
As a result, ONE together with 36 other African organisations have written to UK Prime Minister Cameron asking his government to ensure that African-led agriculture is at the heart of the Nutrition for Growth event, and specifically the existing CAADP plans.
CAADP stands for the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program. It has already created momentum to reform agriculture in 40 out of 53 African countries and many more are joining. This makes it the single best existing framework that would support the G8 to deliver excellent results from their food security and nutrition investments on the continent.
CAADP will also become the central organising vehicle for the African Union year of Agriculture in 2014. African states have committed themselves become more accountable to their people on accelerated progress in fighting hunger and helping small-holder farmers access better investment, technology and markets to sell their produce.
African leadership, political will and investment is critical to realising the poverty reducing potential of African agriculture. The private sector and international community also has a very important supporting role to play in investing in African-led agriculture.
Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, has said, “Africa has potential, but it cannot eat potential. More coordinated action is needed”.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, the G8 must build on the momentum growing across Africa and fund the agriculture plans already in place.
Apr 2nd, 2013 3:31 PM UTC
By Nachilala Nkombo
As ONE launches its agriculture report, the AU remarks that the new focus should be on investments that make a difference to farmers! Nachilala Nkombo, ONE’s Africa Deputy Director, reports from Addis Ababa.
This week, 300 or more people gathered in the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa to galvanize momentum around African-led agriculture. In the same hall that African heads of state will make the major decisions that affect the possibilities of increased food production and increased rural income in January 2014, ONE was invited to launch our newest report: “A Growing Opportunity: Measuring Investments in African Agriculture.”
I had the honour of sharing ONE’s findings from this report alongside African policymakers and farmers. Together we urged African leaders to meet their commitments to invest at least 10 percent of their budgets in agriculture. The launch was a major highlight of the Africa Union/NEPAD 9th CAADP Partnership Platform (PP) meeting, an annual conference that convenes policy makers, agriculture experts, donors and small scale farmers to discuss the hot issues affecting agriculture on the continent.
This launch coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the landmark Maputo Declaration by the African Union government to revamp the agriculture sector through increased public investments. In this report, we measured performance of 19 African governments against the benchmarks in this declaration.
The reports highlight both good and bad news from the continent. The good news is that progress is undeniable, and 24 countries are taking steps to reorganise their agriculture sector in line with CAADP standards. Eight African countries are on their way to reaching the goal to halve poverty by 2015, and investment in agriculture is translating into growth in 13 African nations.
The bad news is that the Maputo public financing commitments are off track. While nine countries have made some increases to their national budgets since 2003, only four countries have met the Maputo target to invest 10 percent of national expenditures in the support of agriculture.
These include Malawi, Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Niger. Alarmingly, nine countries reduced their levels of agriculture expenditures during the assessment period. The report also found that donors were off track in terms of fulfilling their full US $22 billion L’Aquila pledge, only half of what was promised has been disbursed since 2009.
After I delivered our findings, it became clear to the audience that there was a need for urgent action by African governments to increase public investments in agriculture, if Africa has to ensure food security and job creation on the continent. The big game-changing moment that all stakeholders at the meeting are looking toward is the January 2014 AU summit that will mark the start of the African year of 2014 agriculture efforts.
An eminent panel of speakers, comprising of the Ethiopian Ambassador to the AU and UNECA H.E Ambassador Kongit Sinegiorgis; the Malawi Agriculture Deputy Minister Hon. Ulemu Chilapondwa; the AU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy, Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime; and a farmer from Nigeria, Sara Yapwa joined me in bringing some home truths to the report .
Ambassador Sinegiorgis was proud to note that Ethiopia has been listed in the report as among those countries that have met and exceeded both the CAADP 10 percent budgetary allocation and 6 percent annual agriculture growth rate. She emphasized the fact that agriculture is part of the country’s long-term plan for economic and social transformation, and called on the other governments to do more to boost agricultural production and agribusiness. “We can find the resources needed to close the Agriculture financing gap,” she said.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Ulemu Chilapodwa attributed his government success on the 10 percent to the decentralization of agriculture services, and the opening-up to NGO involvement in agriculture activities.
I was so proud of ONE to hear Commissioner Tumusiime remark on how good the report was and how important it is for the African Union Commission to have such independent perspectives on the status of Maputo commitments despite having their own internal Maputo review processes.
“I do not think that there are many other meetings of this nature where this would be allowed,” she said. Noting the urgent need to make agriculture in Africa leap further forward, she threw a couple of challenges to the audience, “We need to focus on investments that make a difference to the farmer. We cannot live by tradition, while Africa’s agriculture potential is noted, we cannot eat potential,” she said.
Africa can use the estimated US$ 50 billion it spends annually to import food to finance agriculture and meet the CAADP funding gap holding back progress in agriculture. She pointed out that as agriculture is strategic for Africa, it just needs to be bailed out as other strategic institutions are being bailed out every day in the west.
Sara the farmer wondered why half the $22 billion committed by donors has not yet been received. We want to know where the current money goes. “Is it to overheads or to ‘overlegs’ (farming). For policy to be effective, Sara argued that women have to be involved at all levels of decision making.
“If it is not done with us, it is not for us”, she concluded. This year’s CAADPPP also launched the AU efforts towards the year of agriculture. ONE and its partners will continue to focus its advocacy on the continent on demanding that African leaders live up to their Maputo financing commitments and that they use the year of Agriculture 2014 as a key moment to recommit to a stronger and measurable Maputo, plus 10 programmes of action that will track agriculture financing, as well as the impact of this financing on food security, rural incomes, industrialisation and job creation.
I learnt at this forum that CAADP standards are being used to guide development financing in other regions of the world, it’s for this reason that ONE urges donors to ensure that they don’t miss this opportunity to support the implementation of this African framework that is geared to ensure agriculture success at national levels.
Read our full report here.
Read about CAADP here.
Nov 14th, 2012 10:00 PM UTC
By Katherine Lay
A Development-Driven Consensus to Improve Africa’s Natural Resource Governance
Africa’s natural resources are an untapped catalyst for massive socio-economic growth. With accountable leadership, responsible investment and the right regulations in place, the natural resource sector can spur Africa’s development trajectory into the stratosphere.
This was the conclusion of participants in the BBC’s Africa Debate on 26th October, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 8th African Development Forum. Both the debate and the forum tried to answer the same question: can Africa overcome its natural resource curse and manage its abundant resource endowments for the benefit of its people rather than the bank accounts of political and corporate elites?
After alerting members to the upcoming debate, ONE received a record number of comments and tweets responding to this question. Your concerns focused on the critical problem of corrupt natural resource management by both governments and multinational corporations, and your emphasis on the disconnect between state and society on resource policy and practice made clear that the relationship of accountability between governments and citizens has broken down.
Participants in the Africa Debate highlighted these concerns. They reached a swift consensus: mismanagement, graft and corporate tax evasion in the natural resource sector are robbing citizens of the revenues needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to deliver essential services that remain non-existent for people across the continent. The gap between rich and poor in Africa is growing, and will not be bridged unless accountable governments and companies commit to an equitable pro-poor development approach to natural resource exploitation rooted on strong political will, visionary corporate leadership and an empowered civil society that, together, build partnerships for change.
The African Development Forum also produced a consensus. Its 800 delegates endorsed a formal Consensus Statement suggesting better ways in which Africa can use its natural resources for people-centered sustainable development. It’s a consensus that recognizes that although Africa has shown strong economic growth over the last decade, it still faces the challenge of translating this into effective poverty reduction, quality social services and opportunities for political and economic participation. With the number of youth in Africa set to double by 2045 – and with 27 percent of them currently unemployed – harnessing the natural resource sector to create jobs isn’t just crucial for social cohesion and stability, it also generates a virtuous cycle of productivity, innovation and growth.
We need solutions that tap into this productivity and that build platforms for citizen participation in resource governance. Solutions like the Africa Mining Vision, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and other instruments that create a rights-based, transparent and accountable natural resource sector in Africa, and that encourage both governments and companies to improve rather than destroy the social wellbeing of the continent’s citizens.
This Consensus Statement is timely. More reserves of oil, gas and minerals are being discovered each day. Over the next decade, billions of dollars will flow into African countries previously starved of financial capital. These revenue flows must be transparent and regulated through open natural resource governance processes. Secret contracts, tax avoidance and illicit financial outflows from Africa are in no citizen’s interest. You’ve stressed it in your comments and tweets, participants in the Africa Debate echoed it, and delegates to the African Development Forum committed to it: we need to follow the money to make sure that natural resources are transformed from a curse into a catalyst for growth.
Thank you to everyone who submitted questions and comments!
In case you missed it, you can listen to the debate on the BBC website.
Aug 23rd, 2012 11:36 AM UTC
By Wangui Muchiri
Here in Africa, death is often unexpected even when it is expected. Many of us unrelentingly cling to hope, even when the writing is on the wall. The continent may not be that surprised by the loss of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, but, the continent certainly is shocked and feels the loss.
Africa feels the loss for a man who graced world stages and was often perceived as the ‘Voice of Africa’. He was the face for the African renaissance, at forums such as the G8, G20 and the World Economic Forum.
This is a double loss for Ethiopia, who also lost the head and patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, last week. Some cultures in Africa may even link the two demises as belief that such a figure as the patriarch can never leave for the eternal journey alone.
Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister who also has the Foreign Affairs minister portfolio, Hailemariam Desalegn, will be holding fort in Meles’ place until Parliament, which consists of 99.6% Ethiopia’s People Revolutionary Democratic Front party members, choose a successor.
Ethiopia’s transition looks peaceful so far. A snap shot analysis of African head of governments or presidential elections held in 2012, is quite interesting. I am quickly reminded of three other African countries which have lost heads of state in office this year. With the exception of Guinea Bissau, both Malawi and Ghana, had peaceful transitions of presidential power. In all fairness, most heads of government elections held in Africa this year have been peaceful. This is not to say they lacked intrigue, rather to highlight that they were not awash with bloodshed. Some countries have even seen peaceful regime changes. These include, Lesotho and Senegal. Countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali’s elections were not as smooth.
Back to the tragic situation in Ethiopia. In the midst of this mourning period, already, many feel that Meles’ shoes will be hard to fill. Here is a man who is credited with turning Ethiopia’s economy around, from a paltry GDP growth rate of 3.8% when he took over in 1991, to a staggering 10.1% in 2010, according to World Bank figures.
Meles was sometimes referred to as the regional policeman in turbulent Eastern African times. He made no apologies sending his troops to maintain peace around the region’s borders such as Somalia, Eritrea, Burundi , and was key in Sudan and South Sudan negotiations. It’s therefore not surprising that the U.S. became an ally in its anti terrorism efforts. On the other hand, Meles received criticism from human rights organizations who criticized his government’s strict control over civil and political rights.
A paradigm shift beckons Ethiopia, at the close of one era, turns the leaf for the beginning of a new one. We hope the new era will spell further progress.
Photo by Monika Flueckiger, World Economic Forum
Aug 20th, 2012 11:12 AM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
As many of our readers know, last month ONE delivered its Thrive petition signed by almost 35,000 African citizens to the African Union Chair President Yayi Boni of Benin.
President Boni and Benin’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Nassirou Bako Arifari promised to take our petition to the full African Union in order to promote investments in Africa’s agriculture sector across the continent. We know that with proper investments and planning in farms and food supplies, African governments could help lift 31 million African citizens out of poverty and prevent 12 million children from suffering the effects of stunted growth due to malnutrition.
We have a great video of the petition delivery, which features ONE’s Africa Director Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, along with sporting legend Haile Gebrselassie, who delivered the petition on behalf of ONE members across the continent, and Benin’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Nassirou Bako Arifari.
Watch the video here:
This comes at a great time as we make real progress in the race against hunger. Haile Gebrselassie joined ONE, our partners, and a few of his fellow Olympians at a Hunger Summit just as the 2012 Olympics closed.
Stay tuned for more updates in our campaigns. These last 4 months of 2012 hold a lot of potential for our campaigns to increase food security and opportunity all over the continent.
Jul 24th, 2012 10:30 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Guest blog post from sporting legend Haile Gebrselassie.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of working with ONE at the African Union Summit here in Addis Ababa. I was both honoured and humbled to be asked to join them in delivering your petition signed by almost 35,000 African citizens to the African Union Chair His Excellency President Yayi Boni of Benin.
The petition asks for African leaders to invest in agriculture and nutrition to lift 31 million Africans out of poverty and prevent 12 million children from stunted growth. I can gladly say we succeeded in doing this, and what a momentous occasion it was.
Before we delivered the petition, I met with some amazing ONE members from Addis Ababa, who were there to represent the thousands of ONE members who had signed the petition. It was exciting to hear from them about ONE and our Thrive campaign. Their spirit certainly carried through to the petition delivery.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie with other ONE members at the 2012 African Union summit in Addis Ababa.
President Boni had planned to join us on Friday, but unfortunately through a number of complications, his arrival in Addis Ababa was delayed. Luckily enough, His Excellency had his Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Nassirou Arifari-Bako, stepped in and received the petition on his behalf.
Haile Gebrselassie presents ONE’s petition.
The following press conference was a great success, especially when the Honorable Minister announced during his speech that 2013 must be the year of agriculture across Africa. I am particularly excited about this commitment from the AU as a citizen of this beautiful and rich continent.
Thank you to all the ONE members for supporting this campaign. We now have our work cut out for us to ensure this becomes a reality!
Haile Gebrselassie, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who has held at least 27 world records in various distances.
Jul 13th, 2012 1:33 PM UTC
By Nora Coghlan
The 19th African Union Summit kicked off earlier this week here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The official theme of the summit is Intra-African trade, but a lot of other issues will be on the table when the 53 African Heads of State meet this Sunday.
Though the election for the head of the AU is grabbing most of the media headlines, we were excited to hear another message come through – a call for focusing on agriculture and food security. At her press conference on Wednesday morning, the AU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, called on African leaders to invest their own resources into agriculture, saying “We must get Africa to take its destiny within its own hands. That’s why I’m talking about marshaling resources from within the continent.”
She also stressed the need for African leaders to recruit new partners – such as young people and the private sector (especially through the new GROW Initiative) – in this effort.
Her words could not be timelier. Next year marks the tenth anniversary of the Maputo commitments, whereby African governments promised to increase spending on agriculture to 10% of their budgets and reach agricultural growth targets of 6%.
We know these targets could transform the African continent. Over 33,000 ONE members across the continent have signed our petition asking the AU lift 31 million of its people out of poverty and prevent 12 million children from stunting.
This evening we’ll be handing our petition to AU Chair and President of Benin, HE Yayi Boni alongside Ethiopian Olympic marathon winner Haile Gebrselassie and ONE members here in Addis.
Stay tuned here to the ONE Africa Blog and the @ONEinAfrica twitter account for updates.
Jul 10th, 2012 9:41 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
As the African Union prepares to meet this week in Addis Ababa, we are excited to feature a renowned Ethiopian voice in support of ONE’s Thrive campaign. Haile Gebrselassie, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who has held at least 27 world records in various long-distance runs, urges people to take action in support of agricultural development around the continent. Haile has seen first-hand the devastation wrought by famine in his country—and the miracle of smart planning and development that helped Ethiopia avoid the worst of last year’s famine in the region (you can also watch a short video about Tigray, a region in Ethiopia wrecked by famine in the 1980s, and its remarkable transformation).
I have run, and won many marathon races around the world in my lifetime. And each time I run, I carry Ethiopia and Africa in my heart. I come from a country that has seen some of the worst famines in the world. I therefore know first hand, what hunger and malnutrition look like.
Today, Africa is in the race of a lifetime. It’s a race that often marks the difference between life and death. It’s a race against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
It’s a race that we can win, for our brothers and sisters in Africa.
Join me and click here to sign ONE’s petition, which reads:
Dear African leaders,
It’s time to break the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty. When you meet in Addis Ababa please recommit to investing in agriculture and nutrition to help pull 31 million Africans out of poverty and save 12 million children from stunting.
We can begin to make a difference by calling on our leaders to make smart investments in Agriculture. They will be gathering for the African Union summit in Addis Ababa next week and we want to take a message to them that we can break the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty.
This race must be won by 2015. This is the race of a lifetime. Join me in this race and sign the petition right now.
Olympic Marathon winner and ONE member
Image credit: Twitter
Nov 2nd, 2011 2:54 PM UTC
By Nora Coghlan
For those of us that grew up in the 1980s, the word “famine” is almost synonymous with Ethiopia. In 1984-85, images of crowded feeding centres and emaciated babies from Ethiopia’s Tigray province were burned into the public memory.
Many of these images were the work of Mohammed Amin, the legendary Kenyan photojournalist who was one of the first outsiders to travel to Tigray in 1984. Amin’s photos outraged the world. What followed was Live Aid, Band Aid, and an international response that ultimately saved millions of lives.
Salim Amin meets a family in Tigray. Photo © Chip Duncan
A few weeks ago, I went back to Tigray with Mohammed Amin’s son, Salim. Thanks to more than two decades of investments in agriculture, the Tigray we see today is one that Salim’s father would barely recognize. Nearly 20% of the land in the region is now irrigated (compared to 6% nationally), meaning many farmers are no longer at the mercy of erratic rains. 1.4 million families are participating in the Productive Safety Net Program, which gives food or cash transfers to vulnerable families in exchange for work on community projects. What’s more, new technology and support for farmers growing tef (a nutritious type of grain), harvesting honey and raising livestock are helping people increase their incomes to one day graduate from the safety net.
During the visit we talked to dozens of people who are benefiting from these programs. People like Berimu Gebre-Micheal, who can grow vegetables now that his fields are irrigated, providing additional income and more nutritious food for his two children. And there’s Kelelom, a tef farmer who lost her father in 1984. She increased her yields thanks to better seeds, methods for planting and better access to markets.
Today, Berimu and Kelelom’s stories are just as critical as Mohammed Amin’s photos were in 1984. Because 27 years after world said never again, another famine is ravaging Somalia. Experts warn that this one could kill 750,000 people in the coming months. ONE’s campaign, Hungry No More, is calling on world leaders to put an end to famine for good by investing in the long-term solution: African agriculture.
Tigray is a model for what happens when governments invest in long-term solutions to drought and food insecurity. You can check out Salim’s video and sign our petition.
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The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
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