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.
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 19th, 2012 3:28 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
Earlier this week, South African Home Affairs Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma became the first-ever female head of the African Union (AU) Commission after emerging the winner of a hard-fought election for this important post. The incumbent was Dr. Jean Ping (from Gabon) who served the continent since 2008. ONE thanks Dr. Ping for his leadership of the African Union Comission over the past four years and congratulates Zuma, the AU and the African continent on her election as Chair of the AU Commission.
There is no question that Zuma will need to hit the ground running. ONE is hopeful that she will bring a new sense of inclusiveness to the AU. This means not only sensitively healing rifts caused during the election (which included 6 months of deadlock after an inconclusive vote in January), but also bringing African citizens more into conversations about the future of their continent.
This is especially critical as the world begins to discuss the post- Millennium Development Goals development agenda. The AU, African governments and international partners have a central role to play in in this process, but Africa’s post-2015 strategy will not succeed unless African citizens – the most important stakeholders – are brought into it.
In terms of issues, Zuma will have to work on parallel tracks. One track to address the ongoing political challenges facing the continent in countries like Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali, where Zuma’s diplomatic experience will no doubt be an asset to the AU. In addition, she’ll need to focus on another equally critical track – the social and economic issues facing the continent. We know that food security, economic growth, health and other issues are essential to unlocking progress on the continent and securing a prosperous, peaceful future for African citizens. The AU needs to play a strong leadership role in both raising these issues and encouraging real commitments and actions from Member States.
ONE looks forward to working closely with Zuma on this front. Last week, we joined ONE members in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to deliver a petition from more than 33,000 African citizens asking AU to lift 31 million people out of poverty and prevent 12 million children from stunting by investing in agriculture and food security. After receiving the petition on behalf of AU Chair and Beninese President Yay Boni, Beninese Foreign Minister Dr. Nassirou Bako-Arifari called for 2013 to be the “Year of African Agriculture” at the AU, focused on recommitting to and revitalizing the Maputo targets.
ONE is hopeful that Zuma will not only be a new ally in this endeavor but actually a champion, celebrating the successes and best practices and encouraging the Members States which are lagging behind to do more.
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.
Aug 26th, 2011 11:48 AM UTC
By Nora Coghlan
African governments and institutions committed nearly $350 million for famine relief yesterday at the African Union’s first-ever pledging conference. Coming together under the banner “One Africa – One Voice Against Hunger,” panelists and participants called for African solidary and united action to respond to the Horn’s worst drought in 60 years.
The collective effort demonstrated by the AU is a solid first step that should be applauded. The African Development Bank accounted for the vast majority of the pledge, committing $300 million for programs over a five-year period. Notable individual contributions were made by Algeria (pledging $10 million), South Africa ($10 million), Egypt ($5 million), Angola ($5 million) and the Democratic Republic of Congo ($5 million). Another nine countries made $1-3 million pledges (including Africa’s newest country of South Sudan), and a handful more made smaller cash and in-kind donations.
Though the AU is facing criticism for the size of its commitment, the precedent set at yesterday’s summit is an important one that should be applauded. As the BBC’s Martin Plaut points out, the AU was never designed to be a fundraising organization and the conference “charts a new course” for the institution.
Acknowledging that the AU is often criticized for its “slow and inadequate” responses to emergencies, AU Commissioner Jean Ping urged participants to take note of other important contributions made by African states, such Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti’s hosting of Somali refugees and troops sent to Mogadishu by Uganda and Burundi.
UN Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Miguro also applauded African efforts, noting that “above all, this crisis is being tackled by local people and institutions.” She warned that a future generation is hanging in the balance, and commended the AU for taking its “rightful place at the forefront of the response.”
Similar to pledges made by traditional donors, clarity is needed around many yesterday’s commitments. This is especially true for South Africa (whose $10 million pledge included private donations) and countries that contributed to the $350 million commitment from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) last week (including Algeria, Egypt and Gabon). AU Vice-Commissioner Erastus Mwencha said the AU was working with outside institutions to track commitments and monitor their delivery.
In the months ahead, it is also critical that Africans lead the campaign to develop long-term solutions to prevent future crises. Many of yesterday’s presenters reiterated that experts were predicting the drought months ahead of time; Prime Minister Meles Zenawi dedicated most of his remarks to outlining the measures taken to prepare for the drought in Ethiopia, which he said kept the country from slipping into famine.
Since yesterday’s summit was designed to respond to the crisis, the lack of concrete commitments towards long-term food security was not surprising. There was also no mention of the pledges by many African governments to allocate 10% of their national budgets towards agricultural development (known as the Maputo targets).
When delegates meet in Kenya next month to discuss long-term solutions to drought and famine, these targets should be on the forefront of the agenda. Doing so would demonstrate that African governments are not only stepping up to respond to the current emergency, but are also committed to providing the leadership necessary to prevent these crises in the future.
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