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.
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