May 23rd, 2013 2:12 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Our guest blogger today is Vincent Rapeta, a young farmer from South Africa. He is speaking at the African Union Youth Forum in Addis Ababa this week as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.
I’m Vincent and I come from Limpopo Province in South Africa. I’m 28 and a farmer. I grow maize, butternut squash, watermelon, tomato, beetroot and cabbages. I am a farmer by accident but I’m loving it.
I was raised by a single parent and we were very poor when I was growing up. I think that my mother earned R5000 a year. In today’s US dollars, that is just over $500.
I had dreams of becoming an auditor and fighting corruption but we didn’t have money to send me to university. But I did have an opportunity. I was helping my mother while I was in school on our small plot of two hectares. And after I was done with school, I started helping her full time- that’s how I became a farmer.
Our produce started being noticed for its quality and in 2006, the local Department of Agriculture selected me to attend an agriculture training programme where I learned about soil quality, when to plant certain crops and also special knowledge about growing tomatoes, which are higher value crops. I eventually got my own plot and started expanding the amount of produce we could grow, and began to employ some local people to help me manage my plots and harvests.
In 2010, I went to school again to learn about the business side of farming and best management practices. I learned about finances, communications, labour and best standards for my produce. In 2011, I won the Best Farmer award in Molemole Municipality. I was so excited.
Last year I decided to expand my operation and was able to obtain 20 hectares from the traditional council in my area and another 20 from the municipality. I am now trying to get those plots of land suitable for farming as they are still covered in bush. I’ve had to spend my savings to clear the land and drill boreholes for irrigation, but hope to be up and running by the end of this year.
Farming is hard work. It is very challenging, but so rewarding. I think there are three main challenges for young farmers like me.
First, we need access to land and financial services. I have been very lucky – an elderly neighbour allowed me to farm her plot and I also had my mother’s plot to start from. Not all of my fellow young South Africans without work have been so fortunate. South Africa is redistributing its land but it often goes to people who don’t make a living from it. A doctor will get a few hectares where I live, but then wake up and go to his job.
Banks require security and collateral for loans. Hail can ruin one season’s harvest. I’ve saved and have been able to use this to expand, but we need insurance and loans to help us move forward. When we take the risk, we need government to meet us half way in managing these costs.
Second, we need to challenge the perception that informal sector farmers like myself provide poor quality produce. I was once told by a buyer for a big market that he wouldn’t buy tomatoes from black farmers. And this was a black man telling me this. He would buy spinach and butternut but not tomatoes. So we must try to promote the real quality of food that informal farmers produce.
And finally, we need access to fair markets. As we plan our crop we need to be sure that it will not go to waste. In Limpopo I am lucky that the food bank buys my tomatoes and my income is assured, other youth farmers in the rest of the country don’t have the same opportunities. We need policies that support the development of crop markets so that farmers can increase their harvest, earn more income and improve their families’ lives.
All I can say is that here is so much opportunity in farming. I think young people all over Africa should look to farming to improve their lives and improve our continent. We’re always crying of not having jobs. Well, we can find land. We’re not disabled. Why can’t we just make our own job? Our governments just need to make it easier by building roads that lead to markets and by providing marketing information and training to farmers.
I dream of owning 1000 hectares in ten years where I can have a herd of cattle and provide so many jobs to contribute to poverty alleviation. I know this is possible and with the right policies from government, all of us here will be farming.
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 29th, 2013 1:49 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Mike Drachkovitch, manager of marketing and external relations at ONE, shares his interview with one of the creators of a magazine and brand that is challenging the accepted understanding of Africa. Photos: AITF.
Part conceptual magazine, part clothing company, AFRICA IS THE FUTURE, or AITF, is more of an ever-evolving creative project in time travel than anything else.
And that’s exactly what its co-founder and creative director, Nicolas Premiere, had in mind. Nicolas was born in France to a French mother and a Congolese father. He and his business partner Patrick Ayamam launched AITF with an important vision in mind: to change the way you think and talk about Africa.
We think he’s done just that.
Tell me about how you came to found AITF and the team behind it?
The first t-shirt with the slogan ‘AFRICA IS THE FUTURE’ was printed in 2002. At this time, I was also exhibiting a series of painted portraits featuring Congolese people I had met a year earlier in Brazzaville. Almost all the models looked at the viewer straight in the eye. It was important for me to show proud Africans who are aware of themselves. Alongside these series of paintings, I worked on different slogans that were inspired by the civil rights movement with updated content. Among all of these slogans, there was AFRICA IS THE FUTURE.
A cultural center organizing one of my exhibitions offered to print my t-shirts for the opening. I chose to print [AFRICA IS THE FUTURE] on 30 t-shirts. But it was two years later when AITF was born. There was another exhibition, another opening, where at least ten friends came with the famous t-shirt which led to the audience talking about the slogan, its meaning and Africa.
My friend Patrick and I were pretty surprised by all the discussions that the t-shirts generated.There were new angles, perspectives and ways to talk about Africa. We wanted this to happen again more widely and more often, so we reprinted more t-shirts! In recent years we’ve generated discussion in ways other than the t-shirts-AITF Magazine is the most recent example of this.
Let’s talk about your homepage. I’m intrigued by the teaser: everything you want to know about AITF but never dared to ask. Then, clicking through, it says: now you know. What was your reasoning behind this?
When we printed the first t-shirts with the slogan AFRICA IS THE FUTURE, we did not want people to be able to clearly identify who was behind this and what for. We did this because we wanted people to use their critical mind to elaborate their own meaning for the slogan.We did not want to interfere with this process. Our only goal was to bring Africa, from an unusual and stimulating perspective, as a main subject of everyday discussions.
Now you know means there is no hidden truth or magical secret behind AITF-it’s a creative work that is crucial but surely not sufficient-we are not the solution. We do not pretend to change the world or Africa.
You also mention on your homepage how AITF questions how the world is told to us and renews the way Africa is represented. In your view, how is that world told to us and what’s the image of Africa you’re renewing?
Until the lions have their own historians, history will always glorify the hunter. My goal is not to compare Africa to lions but to highlight the fact that there is a predominant point of view in media and cultural industry. It has nothing to do with objectivity-it’s global power relations reflected in images.
AITF Magazine, with its fictional content, requires the reader to ask himself questions because everything that normally seems self-evident is reversed. Particularly the traditional image of Africa in the media: poor, sick, plagued by war. By giving Africa the leading role, AITF Magazine places the continent in a position that is nearly the same as the US today.
Your conceptual magazine is published 20 years from now in 2033. Why did you pick 2033?
The main reason the magazine is dated in the year 2033 is to signify that it is not the real world. AITF’s world has its own temporality, its own logic…It’s not a perfect reflection of the real world. Our goal is not to predict the future but if possible, to create tools for thinking about the world differently by swapping/changing preconceived ideas.
What about the Addis Abeba Panthers?
The Adis Abeba Panthers are the greatest soccer team of the world in 2033. For your information, ever since they recruited Etuna Ndakolo, they have won victory after victory. Moreover, Ndakolo has dethroned the old Messi in many records!
Your brand utilises some timeless images and design work. Tell us your creative vision behind the look and feel of AITF.
It’s about the aesthetic of the fifties which corresponds to the post-war economic growth of the US and the worldwide promotion of the American way of life. This time period is a perfect playground because its representational codes are strongly rooted in the collective unconscious and the impact is all the more great when diverted.
How about U.R. Doctors for America – an American child vaccinated in our backyard of Virginia?
Worldwide petroleum resources have been exhausted but the African Energy Group discovered new shale gas fields in America which is good news for Africa. We can not say the same for America because the continent stirs lust. Like deja vu, various civil wars break out in places where a deposit is discovered. Utilities, especially health care and education, are most affected by these troubles.Endemic diseases like meningitis resurface. Touched by the plight of kids and civilians, an association of African volunteer doctors travels to America to rescue them.
What’s your creative process like?
Like every creative project, it’s complex. I can’t tell you exactly, because I do not have a magical formula. I work all the time. I use many notebooks. I read, I listen, I look, I walk, I inhale, I exhale. I try to stay connected with the flow because everything comes from it.
One of the statistics I find most exciting about Africa is that 65 percent of Africans are under the age of 35. I couldn’t help but think that AITF is trying to connect with this up-and-coming, change-making generation. Why?
We connect to the coming generation of the world because they are, by definition, the future.The way we see the world determines what we do in it. This is too important to let only media and cultural industry open the eyes of the youth!
Finally, if you could share a message with ONE members young and old, what would it be?
Think for yourself.
Big thanks to Nicolas for sharing his ideas with us. Check out the website and tell us what you think in the comments below.
Apr 24th, 2013 11:56 AM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
You might have seen her perform it when she closed out the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations here in Johannesburg back in February. Yvonne has recorded this version with Denis Dowlut, Michael Abdul and Themba Mhinga.
World Malaria Day is an important moment to focus global attention on the scourge of malaria. This completely preventable and treatable disease is transmitted by the bites of a specific species of mosquito. Yet as our partners at United Against Malaria note, it continues to kill a child every 60 seconds and causes 655,000 deaths every year—with the vast majority of these occurring across Africa.
ONE is fighting this disease through our campaign for the full funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which finances medical treatment and prevention measures for malaria all over the world.
In addition to funding the fight, it is also essential to educate communities at high risk of exposure to malaria on how they can prevent it and seek treatment immediately if anyone in the family shows symptoms. UAM is working with some of Africa’s biggest football stars to raise awareness about malaria, as well as celebrated artists like Yvonne Chaka Chaka to carry the message through music.
And take one minute to sign our petition calling for world leaders to scale up their support for the Global Fund.
Apr 19th, 2013 5:13 PM UTC
By Helen Hector
World Malaria Day is on Thursday 25 April, we’re marking it by inviting you to our Google+ Hangout where you can hear first hand from the people who dedicate their lives to fighting malaria around the world.
If no have no idea what a Google+ Hangout is and are about to click away, WAIT! It’s a really easy way to get people in different places all talking to each other on your screen. You can interact by posting questions and comments, or just sit back and enjoy. You can watch the conversation live on either Google+ or YouTube. Still with us? Good.
Together, our guests will cut through the clutter and answer questions like:
We promise there will be no jargon or complicated science—just the truth about this incredible global battle to save lives and how you can contribute to it.
Our resident global health expert Erin Hohlfelder will be hosting some special guests and talking about how we can eradicate malaria, the technology that’s available, current on the ground projects, the progress already made and the challenges ahead.
If you have a question for any of our guests, leave it as a comment below and we’ll try and answer as many of them as we can during the event.
Apr 10th, 2013 5:29 PM UTC
By Warren Nyamugasira
Since December 2011, Uganda’s traditional donors led by the World Bank indefinitely withheld their aid on account of runaway corruption. As a result of some of the reforms the government has just undertaken, this week several countries are in reviewing whether to reinstate the aid or stay away a bit longer to push the government to undertake more reforms. The funds involved amount to USD$300 million and for Uganda’s economy, that is not pocket change.
Earlier this year, government actually refunded some of the money it had lost to donors such as Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, at their insistence, but this has not been enough to appease donors collectively.
To do more, it has formed an inter-ministerial High Level Government Financial Management Reform Action Plan. The plan presented to donors includes better financial management, better investigations into corruption cases, indictments of those implicated in scams, and actual prosecution of those culpable.
The Bank of Uganda has already closed 165 dormant accounts which were among the avenues through which public funds were channeled to private accounts; accountants are to be rotated so that they do not build the necessary networks through which to steal; the leadership code, under which senior public servants declare their wealth and liabilities every two years, and which for long had not been used to challenge anyone’s wealth, is now being used by the police to match actual wealth with that declared by implicated officers. Special audits have also been conducted where there is suspected illicit activity. So far, over 100 case files have been opened by the police.
While quietly donors are pleased with the action and feel that if they stay away much longer they could leverage more and deeper reforms, they are not unaware of the unintended consequences and backlash of their actions. For example, as a result of the suspension of aid, some front line public servants such as teachers and health workers have not been fully paid their already meager salaries.
Furthermore, the government has just announced that it will phase out the lowest levels of health outlets (Health centre II) so as to save some money, thereby depriving those who are unable to get to higher centers. So when the government refunded money to donors and it was actually accepted, there was a chorus of condemnation of the donors by the public for inflicting double tragedy on the innocent. They also realise that they might have inadvertently reinforced the accusation that the government is more responsive to donors than its citizens.
They also realise that while government has moved, uncharacteristically swiftly, to put quite tough measures in place to reverse the rot, implementation is selective. Already one of the high profile culprits, who was found guilty and sent to jail over the GAVI funds, has already been released on some quaint technicality that confounds even the Inspectorate of Government that pinned him down in the first place. But perhaps the most unexpected consequence has been the introduction of the Internal Security Organization (ISO), a spy arm of government, into schools to undertake head count of pupils and teachers to unearth ‘ghost pupils and teachers’, all in the guise of pleasing donors. This ‘trust creep’ could lead to the militarisation of civil service and in future spell enduring disaster on the strength of our institutions.
President Museveni is an interesting man. Those who have studied him carefully will tell you that you can tell who is and who isn’t in his good stead from the way he shakes hands when he arrives to a waiting line of important officials. Those he greets almost in passing when his focus is already on the next person will know they are not that important to him. It would seem that even in this case, he is ‘greeting the donors’ with his face looking at China and the emerging partners.
In particular he is looking to China’s sovereign funds to fund important infrastructural projects. He has also developed a strategy to creatively leverage the future on oil reserves, in which partners like China will be more than willing partakers, has according to The EastAfrican, created “a unique moment in the country’s relations with its traditional donors”.
How will traditional donors position themselves on withheld aid? We shall soon know.
Apr 10th, 2013 1:00 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
This post is by ONE Chief Executive Officer Michael Elliott and was originally published on the Skoll World Forum website.
In 2008, ONE launched its first call for applications for the newly created ONE Africa Award. The award was the brain child of ONE’s good friend and now board member, Howard G. Buffett, who charged us with recognising innovative, dynamic, African-founded organisations, groups and individuals that are engaged in life-changing, innovative efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in their local communities, regions and countries. Five years later, we have been overwhelmed with the depth of creativity, enthusiasm and innovation coming from the continent; awarding the prize becomes more difficult each year.
Through this process, certain applicants have stood out. We’re particularly interested in recognising organisations that can tie direct service delivery elements—let’s say providing pro bono legal knowledge to women fighting for their rights —to innovative advocacy efforts that will result in systemic transformation of their nation’s prospects.
ONE’s unique role is spotlighting these organisations and helping them overcome a common challenge of social entrepreneurship – bringing projects to scale. All too often, a brilliant idea or system stays local when it has potential for a much broader impact at the state, country or regional level. But that’s where an award is useful — along the way, we do identify a number of “finalist” organisations so that we can feature their stories on our websites and social media streams in words, pictures and videos. These organisations often have budgets of only tens of thousands of dollars a year so even if they’re not a winner, we can often raise their profile enough in order to sustain and develop their efforts.
For example, 2011 Finalist Sylva Food Solutions, a Zambian social enterprise, comes to mind. From just an initial review of their application, they seemed like quite a successful catering and processed foodstuff business based in Lusaka. But we quickly learned about their efforts—through very sophisticated advocacy tactics—to change how Zambians ate.
The founder, Sylvia Banda, lamented that Zambians had turned their backs to the local, indigenous foods that surrounded them in favor of Western style foods, often processed so much that these foods lacked nutritional value. What did Sylvia do? She worked to create a market for local foods by engaging the government to do media campaigns on television and radio to promote local foods—even the then-First Lady of Zambia took up the mantle.
When Sylvia realized that she didn’t have enough quality produce to meet rising demand, she went out and recruited new farmers and taught them how to raise and select great produce that she could sell. And then she also worked to create a strong brand image around Sylva Food Solutions so that it is sought out by Zambians and the country’s diaspora. In short, Sylvia and her crew over the course of a few years created an entirely integrated supply chain and market that allows Sylva Food Solutions to scale up and compete successfully.
And that’s just one example. We keep finding social enterprise and civil society organizations all over the continent that have developed smart, effective solutions to development challenges. In 2012, we had two social enterprises make it in our top five finalists. One of the organizations, Muliru Farmers Conservation Group of Kenya, commercialized a traditional medicinal plant in order to tie the conservation of Kenya’s last rainforest to the economic interests of its surrounding human communities. Muliru worked with scientists to determine the extract (camphor) and consumer product specialists to create a range of Naturub® products that are sold throughout Kenya to treat colds and aches.
Just next door in Uganda, we found SOVHEN, a social enterprise that has found a way to manufacture sanitary pads from agricultural waste of bananas in order to help Uganda’s girls stay in school. The manufacturing process employs women from the local communities while another set of women then sell those pads within the communities, creating a social marketing arm for SOVHEN’s “Bana-pads.” SOVHEN also USES student groups to change the image of girls in school by spreading messages about the benefits of girls in schools.
While ONE still campaigns and advocates for the life-saving aid that the developed world sends to many African countries, the ONE Africa Award is a constant reminder to us that Africans are working every day to develop and bend the arc of its future to one of prosperity and opportunity. We know very well that Africa’s transformation won’t come because of what’s done from the outside; its citizens must demand change for themselves, and are increasingly doing so. But we’re still proud to acknowledge and recognize local heroes such as those who compete for the ONE Africa Award each year.
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.
Mar 25th, 2013 1:31 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Roger Thurow is a ONE agricultural fellow, journalist and author. He was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal for 30 years, 20 of them as a foreign correspondent. He is the author of ‘The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change’ and ‘ENOUGH: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty’. @RogerThurow
Ten years ago, Africa’s hunger season reached new levels of desperation. Hunger crises gripped the continent from the Horn to the southern tip. In Ethiopia, the feast of successive bumper harvests had incredibly, swiftly turned to famine, with 14 million people on the doorstep of starvation, surviving on international food aid. A drought spread through central Africa and crept down the east coast, destroying harvests. In southern Africa, AIDS was creating a new kind of famine where it wasn’t the crops that were dying but the farmers who planted them.
The suffering was immense. And it exposed the folly of international development philosophy and practice of the preceding three decades: agricultural development and sustained resilience, particularly for the smallholder farmers, had been woefully neglected. The farmers who grew the majority of the continent’s food, who made up the majority of the population in many countries, were seen as too poor, too remote, too insignificant to be worthy of development efforts. This had been the shared attitude of rich world donor governments, African governments themselves, the mighty development institutions and the private sector.
Something had to change. And it did.
Amid the misery in 2003, African leaders gathered in Maputo, Mozambique and determined to reverse the neglect. At an African Union (AU) summit, the heads of state promised to allocate 10% of national budgets to agriculture and seek 6% annual agricultural growth by 2008. The AU leaders also adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) as a common framework to be implemented by member states to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agricultural development. This would be development led and owned by African countries, and supported by donors.
How have the seeds sown by the Maputo Declaration grown?
In a report launched today – a valuable yardstick called, A Growing Opportunity: Measuring Investments in African Agriculture – ONE reviews the past decade and finds some notable successes in terms of mustering money and political commitment, and the impact of agricultural development.
As of January 2013, the report notes, 24 countries had signed CAADP compacts and held their business meetings and launched “solid, costed and technically reviewed” plans to accelerate agricultural development. Another six countries had committed to start the process and develop plans. The report assessed 19 of those plans:
Eight of those 19 countries are on track to meet the first Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015. At least 13 have had 6% annual growth in the agriculture sector. Leading the way has been Ethiopia; by 2011, the government was spending 19.7% of the total budget on agriculture, almost double the Maputo commitment. The result is average annual growth of 24.2% in the agricultural sector in the 2008-2011 period, which, in turn, has accelerated poverty reduction, particularly in the rural areas.
Still, the report notes, much remains to be done.
“Despite progress, Maputo financing commitments are off track,” ONE found. “Disappointingly, our analysis shows that only four of the 19 countries examined have met the target of spending 10% of the national budget on the agriculture section.” Those countries are Ethiopia, Niger, Malawi and Cape Verde. Two more countries are close behind (Senegal and Sierra Leone). And six are at least halfway there (Mali, Tanzania, Gambia, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda). Seven countries, though, are seriously off track, spending less than 5% on agriculture; six of them actually lowered their agriculture spending. The resulting funding gaps of the proposed agricultural development plans in these 19 countries amounted to a $4.4 billion budget shortfall in 2011.
ONE exhorts African leaders to “act with urgency” to fill the gaps in partnership with donors.
As for the donors, their actions also need to match their pledges. Meeting at L’Aquila, Italy, in 2009, the world’s leading industrial countries, known as the G8, pledged $22 billion over three years to support sustainable agriculture and food security in the developing world. In 2012, at their Camp David summit, the G8 leaders launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a partnership between the governments and private companies to accelerate investments in agriculture with the ambitious goal of lifting 50 million people out of poverty over 10 years.
The ONE report found that these G8 countries may have, in words and intentions, met their $22 billion pledges, but only half of the money has been dispersed and is working on the ground.
When the benefits do reach the fields, progress is remarkable. “Sub-Saharan African agriculture could, and should, be thriving,” the report concludes. “Unblocking Africa’s agriculture potential would also unlock its development.”
To accelerate the success, ONE suggests the agriculture development plans need more transparency and greater consultation with civic organizations, particularly farming groups and women’s organizations. They need a clearer focus on women farmers, who do most of the smallholder farming in many countries. And they need a stronger emphasis on improving nutrition as well as production.
This year, ONE says, “is a turning point.” The decade-old commitments to improve African agriculture need to be renewed and bolstered and put into action. Or the days of negligence could begin again.
Surely, no one wants that – not the Africans who depend on agriculture to drive their economies nor the rest of the world that needs African farmers to be as productive as possible to meet the great challenge of feeding a growing global population.
The hunger season in Africa has gone on far too long.
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
ONE is a movement of 3 million people in Africa and around the world fighting the injustice of extreme poverty.
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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.