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.
May 9th, 2013 5:35 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
ONE US Policy Manager David Hong and ONE Africa Deputy Director Nachilala Nkombo look at the progress made by Grow Africa in the last year.
Today, five African heads of state, four G8 development ministers, and over 100 private sector companies will meet in Cape Town, South Africa at the World Economic Forum on Africa to assess Grow Africa’s work in 2012, the partnership’s first full year in business.
First, here’s a little background. Two years ago, the African Union Commission, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agency, and the World Economic Forum combined forces to create a new partnership, Grow Africa, which aims to reduce poverty by accelerating private sector investment in African agriculture.
The partnership is led by the organisations above, and includes eight member countries and various stakeholders such as host governments, companies involved in investment, civil society, research institutions, and farmer organisations.
Here at ONE, we’re taking this opportunity to weigh in on Grow Africa’s first annual report. Overall, the initiative made significant progress last year, especially given the small size of its team. ONE hopes for further and more robust reporting in the coming years so the partnership can demonstrate its value and defend its model. Annual reporting gives Grow Africa an opportunity to demonstrate lessons learned over the past year and what challenges lay ahead.
Here are the headlines:
Obviously, there is a lot to commend here. Thousands of smallholders are being incorporated into commercial food supply chains where they’re growing more food and generating more income for their families. If Grow Africa adds further measures to increase transparency and expand reporting of poverty reduction indicators, the partnership could change the game for farmers and businesses.
For more information on Grow Africa’s report and ONE’s analysis, check out this policy brief.
Apr 22nd, 2013 1:33 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Dr. K.O. Antwi-Agyei manages the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in Ghana, where he oversees the day-to-day work to ensure vaccines reach children across the country.
Ghana’s health care system has put a lot of its resources into vaccines. Why?
We can see a lot of achievements in reducing child deaths by investing in delivering vaccines. The returns are high, so the politicians and policy makers are convinced that it’s worth investing in vaccines. That is why at least every year within our budget we ensure that we pay for all our traditional vaccines.
Our communities have also been great because they embrace vaccination. They even testify that “Oh, our children used to die from measles. Now with vaccination, we don’t see measles.” And of course, they allow our staff into their homes. There is trust. We can now return to the communities with other vaccination campaigns. It’s marvelous.
What impact have vaccines had on the health of Ghana’s population?
Around 1974, immunisation coverage was around 1.6 percent. Today, well over 90 percent of our population is covered by immunisation services, reducing the burden of disease.
For example, measles used to be the number two killer of children. Now it’s no longer a cause of death for the past 10 years in Ghana. So a lot has been achieved through immunisations.
Last year, you were the first immunisation chief in Africa to simultaneously roll out two vaccines, one protecting children against pneumonia and the other against rotavirus. Why did you decide to do that and, and what was the result?
Our desire to reach the Millennium Development Goal to reduce childhood death was a very big motivating factor. Apart from malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea are the two highest killing diseases. So we thought, if there is no vaccine against malaria now, and there are vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhea, then it’s worth fighting. So we decided to fight the two together. We thought it would be difficult, but not an impossibility. And with careful planning, we could succeed.
How important are Ghana’s community health workers in delivering the vaccines?
They are very important. The front line health workers, they are in touch with the communities. They help improve our public health services, not only through vaccinations but also by treating minor illnesses offering family planning and providing other health-related services.
How does Ghana use data collection to improve immunisation coverage?
Data is used for making decisions. If your data is not good, then of course your decisions will also be faulty, and you won’t be able to achieve your objectives. So a lot of effort has gone into data reporting. We developed tally and register books for the basic level so that they are able to pick the necessary data on children vaccinated, and also on what vaccines have been used. We firmly believe that if you won’t use the data, then don’t collect it. So once we collect the data, we use it. If a region’s coverage is low, we immediately ask, “What is happening there?” We go and investigate and then give us feedback. Then, whatever the error is, we discuss it and correct it.
What is your long term goal for Ghana’s immunisation program?
To reach the top is difficult, but to remain at the top is even more difficult. For Ghana, our goal is to remain as a leader in the area of immunisation and to show our commitment and to develop initiatives which can spread to other areas. Whatever is happening in other countries has a bearing on us. We want to have success stories which can be shared so that together we can get rid of diseases which are killing our children and mothers.
This week is World Immunisation Week. Find out more about how ONE is supporting access to vaccinations.
Apr 2nd, 2013 4:57 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
Last week, ONE’s team on the ground in Bali continued to lobby the members of the High Level Panel (HLP) on our Open for Development petition and the preliminary results of the You Choose campaign from Malawi, South Africa and Zambia.
Almost 120,000 ONE members from around the world have signed the Open for Development petition so far, and another 150,000 Africans have given their ideas on what development should look like in their countries. We presented both the petition and the results to as many members we could find. In particular, I was particularly pleased and delighted to speak to Co-Chair of the High Level Panel, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, regarding ONE members’ actions.
After explaining to her the transparency and accountability mechanisms we’re proposing in the next set of development goals, I was able to briefly tell her about some of the preliminary results we’re finding from the You Choose campaign survey.
As we promised to take the voices of our African members to the High Level Panel and other world leaders, it was important to demonstrate the connection between ONE’s goals for transparency and the consultations and outreach we’ve done on what Africans want for their development.
President Sirleaf understood and even made the connection with ONE and Save the Children’s event at the HLP meeting in Monrovia, Liberia, back in January. She was also pleased to hear that ONE’s You Choose survey is being adapted to contribute to the UN’s My World process of soliciting citizens’ views on the future of development.
In addition to President Sirleaf, I was able to speak to and present our petition and findings to all of the African members of the HLP. I also spoke to Minister Gunilla Carlsson of Sweden and Minister Justine Greening of the United Kingdom, who was representing Prime Minister David Cameron.
After all the remarks and encouragement, I was particularly struck by what my friend and ONE Board member Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria had to say. After receiving ONE’s petition and reports, she commented that “this is an important process which shows that African citizens want to be engaged on matters that affect them.” Minister, we couldn’t agree more.
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.
Mar 27th, 2013 7:28 PM UTC
By Katherine Lay
This week, the presidents of the world’s leading emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (known collectively as the BRICS) – are meeting in Durban for the annual BRICS summit.
The “Africanised Agenda” for this year’s summit, where the BRICS’ cooperation with Africa is under the spotlight, means that investment in extractive industries is a high priority on the agenda. And extraction of Africa’s oil, minerals and gas is where the national interests of each of the BRICS nations and those of African governments converge.
This is good news for the huge BRICS’ business delegations that have booked out Durban’s beachfront hotels. But it’s a source of concern for civil society coalitions, whose interaction with governments and the new BRICS business council has been limited by the worrying absence of any formal means of engagement.
Civil society’s concerns center on the veils of secrecy that still plague the extractives sectors of the BRICS – secrecy around corporate ownership, contracts and revenue flows. This secrecy is allowing phantom firms – anonymous “shell companies” created for the sole purpose of shifting profits across borders into low tax jurisdictions or havens – to rob citizens of the revenues to which they’re entitled. In addition, it’s a serious disincentive to foreign direct investment as few astute investors are willing to invest in opaque environments that offer no accurate accessible data with which to make decisions. And without information on what revenues governments are receiving from companies, how those revenues are invested, and what results they’re achieving, parliamentarians and citizens can’t hold government leaders accountable for the use of revenue that they’re managing on citizens’ behalf.
ONE is urging BRICS’ Finance Ministers to open up their extractive sectors. We’re calling on them to mandate all oil, gas and mining companies listed on the national stock exchanges of the BRICS countries to disclose their payments to governments in the countries in which they operate, and to publish the names of the people who ultimately own or control listed companies and their subsidiaries.
We’re calling on securities exchanges to put in place regulations to ensure that extractives companies submit country-by-country and project-by-project reports on their payments to governments in all operational jurisdictions, to align their reporting with open data standards, and to make this information publicly available online.
It makes good economic sense. Not only do disclosure regulations help improve investment climates, combat corruption and reduce tax evasion, their application by securities regulators can help improve the functioning and attractiveness of BRICS’ stock exchanges and draw more companies to list in these emerging financial centres. Harmonised rules and standards across the BRICS’ exchanges can help level the playing field, reduce corporate costs associated with following different practices in different jurisdictions, and lower reputational risks for companies should they be accused of bribery and fraud in host countries. Transparent reporting also strengthens companies’ social license to operate by making clear to host communities how much state and local level revenue companies are paying to extract resources.
And what responsible government would turn down the opportunity to improve collection of owed revenue and to better track the massive incoming and cross-border capital flows their countries’ resources are generating? It’s an essential step towards higher public savings and better domestic resource mobilisation for the BRICS and for all resource-rich countries. And it’s a golden key to securing the critical development finance needed to deliver public services to populations in need.
Mar 25th, 2013 9:58 PM UTC
By Edith Jibunoh
Edith Jibunoh, ONE’s director for multilateral institutions, is reporting from the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Bali, Indonesia, where she joined a team of ONE members in delivering your post-MDG petition signatures to world leaders.
Almost 15 years ago, as a young(er) diasporan African, I started working on my first developing country assignment, Indonesia – a country much like my own, Nigeria.
I could draw many parallels between the two former military-ruled, resource-cursed, and poverty-stricken countries. As a freshly minted development professional, I had all the ideals of a young graduate newly empowered with all the solutions to the world’s problems that I had read in books, and I felt ready to rule the world.
Within a couple of years, the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), without any input from youth like me, were introduced to the world with little consideration for our sense of ownership for this new global development agenda.
Fast forward 15 years, and I have returned to Indonesia. A country that has since achieved measurable progress, and where civil society is active and engaged. My country is among many that have not followed this path, but the civil society, still finding its youthful voice, is joining the voices of thousands around the world to demand a seat at the table.
ONE is in Bali with some of the world’s foremost development thinkers, private and public sector officials, as well as vibrant members of this civil society, at the Fourth Meeting of the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The panel members spent their first day listening to civil society lay out their desires for a new development framework that they hope will speak to all of their concerns.
The voices here are urgent, backed by hundreds of thousands more, aided in their journey to Bali by the innovation in technology that has birthed movements of voices from around the world seeking to define the new development agenda.
Fifteen years ago, there was no such force defining the MDGs – and young people were certainly not a part of their design. But today, young people around the world are participating in efforts like My World and our complementary You Choose campaign, defining their dreams for a future that will deliver a global development agenda that works for them. It’s a BIG IDEA!
Technology today has allowed for hundreds of thousands of voices to be a part of this conversation.
Fifteen years ago, this “big idea” was still waiting to be born.
Earlier in the day, we presented two of ONE’s recent campaigns to members of the HLP. Our Open for Development petition collected 117,000 members’ names in support of an open development process, based on the outcomes of priorities defined through consultations. Our You Choose campaign, our effort to demonstrate the consultation process in practice, collected 144,000 answers from citizens in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia, defining what they want their development future to be premised on.
The busy day at the HLP meetings wrapped up with our participation in Restless Development’s “Big Ideas” event, where ONE Africa Director Sipho Moyo presented findings from You Choose, which identified the priorities of jobs, education and transparency. Restless Development’s “Big Idea” would involve 3.5 billion people, the world’s youth, as the monitors of this new global development agenda. The audience at the “Big Ideas” event included Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, and Justine Greening, Minister for International Development at the UK Department for International Development.
Both spoke of the power of data in the hands of young people who today utilize the information they gather with the help of technology in a way that previous generations were unable to, networking the information and bringing about change.
When we presented ONE’s campaigns to Paul Polman earlier in the day, he spoke of the collective action needed to achieve the MDGs while he recanted a story of a group of young people in the Netherlands who demanded he took a picture with them as they held a sign which said “We are a part of the solution, ARE YOU?”
Even if you’re no longer a part of the youth group, these big ideas are powerful and definitely worth supporting. Young people are leading the charge but we all need to be a part of the solution. All we have to do is listen to what the world is telling us.
The HLP continues their meetings over the next few days and we’ll be here, encouraging them to keep listening until their work is done.
Edith is tweeting from the High Level Panel. Follow her tweets at @didijibs.
Mar 25th, 2013 9:25 PM UTC
By Nachilala Nkombo
As the current Millennium Development Goals meet their goal-line in 2015, it’s more important than ever to ensure the world’s poorest people have a say in the development of the next set of goals to eradicate extreme poverty.
Working with more than 20 NGO, faith and private sector partners across Africa, together with some of the continents best-known celebrities including Hugh Masekela, D’banj, Benni McCarthy and Chris Katongo, we are urging people to join the fight against extreme poverty and send their views on what issues matter most to them.
And as the UN High Level Panel meets this week in Bali, we have published our preliminary findings based on the early stages of the campaign.
Our interim results show that more than 130,000 citizens have offered valid responses in the three target countries.
You can download the initial findings here.
Check out the ONE blog in the coming weeks for more news on the campaign, which runs until the end of April.
Mar 15th, 2013 6:45 PM UTC
Lauren Pfeifer, ONE’s Transparency and Accountability Research Assistant, shares Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s call for transparency and accountability mechanisms in the oil industry of Ghana.
Renowned Nigerian economist and member of ONE’s Board of Directors Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala advised Ghana on the importance of building transparency and accountability mechanisms into the DNA of its fledgling oil industry. Speaking at the John A.Kufuor Global Development Series in Accra last Friday, Okonjo-Iweala said, “My sisterly advice is that you should be uncompromising on issues of transparency and accountability in the sector.” By building transparency and accountability mechanisms into the sector, Okonjo-Iweala hopes Ghana can avoid the pitfalls of a sudden influx of revenues from natural resources.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the John A.Kufuor Global Development Series in Accra. Photo credit: www.guardian.co.uk
Currently serving her second term as Finance Minister of Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala cautioned Ghanaians Friday to the subtle shifts that she witnessed after Nigeria began exporting oil. After the discovery of oil in Nigeria, its well-diversified economy shifted, non-oil sectors contracted, and an entrepreneurial spirit was sapped as energies were shifted to “chasing government contracts, rather than productive investment,” she said.
Ghana’s Petroleum Revenue Management Act has been widely praised because the legislation specifies how petroleum revenue should be collected and allocated. Okonjo-Iweala implored policymakers and leaders to strengthen it further by institutionalizing transparency in contract negotiations. She encouraged the Ghanaian government to prepare thoroughly before entering into negotiations with foreign oil companies and to invest the profits in public infrastructure.
Okonjo-Iweala also stressed the importance of regional cooperation, especially with regard to infrastructure and trade. She noted that several key building blocks for development – good economic policies, good governance, and investment in infrastructure and skills – are falling into place, making the time ripe for regional development. “With these building blocks in place,” she said, “we can create a platform for the private sector to grow.”
The discovery of Ghana’s oil reserves in 2007 – now known as the Jubilee Field – is estimated at between 800 million to 1.8 billion barrels, and is expected to generate over $1 billion yearly in export revenue over the next 20 years. The new oil wealth has the potential to provide Ghana with the revenue needed to drive development and reduce poverty.
Mar 8th, 2013 3:38 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Our guest blogger today is musician and ONE member Slap Dee, who helped to launch the You Choose campaign in Zambia this week.
In 2000, leaders from 189 nations signed on to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight targets designed to significantly reduce global poverty and disease by 2015. In Zambia, we have made some progress since then, child mortality has reduced and more children are in school. Guys, we still need to do more. We are one of the few countries where poverty levels have increased!
We should all be concerned that 8 million Zambians are said to be poor, mothers in Zambia die in huge numbers giving birth and many of our brothers and sisters still don’t have access to clean water.
The picture is similar in 19 African countries. But we can change this if we act together under ONE’s You Choose campaign. One person’s voice may go unheard, but if we stand together, political leaders can’t ignore us! For me, that’s why I am part of it. The campaign is supported by ONE’s partners and artists such as Christopher Katongo, Mary Magambo, Hugh Masekela, HHP, Dbanj and myself.
We are asking Africans from all walks of life to tell our government and the United Nations what issues matter most to you and what the new MDGs should focus on after 2015. You can do this by sending a FREE text message or online.
We launched this campaign in Zambia this week at the new government complex with over 80 guests including government representatives, students, MPs, financial institutions, donors and many civil society organisations. Since the first country launch in South Africa a few weeks ago, over 100,000 people have joined the campaign.
I have already got my granny and her friends texting. Their voices will be shared with our government and the UN for action. So get texting now and tell our government what we need for us to excel as individuals and as a nation.
In Zambia: Pick up your mobile and text VOICE to 234, and then submit your key issue. Texts are FREE and operational on Airtel and CelZ only.
In South Africa: Text your key issue FREE to 30667
In Malawi: Text your key issue FREE to 57111
Everywhere else: Take part online
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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.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.