The 23rd Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union – held June 20-27 – wrapped up in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Friday, June 27, with a number of advances announced.
Organized under the theme: “2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security”, the African leaders attending the Summit of the African Union, were unanimous on the strategies needed to promote the continent’s agricultural development, a sector which, accounts for one third of Africa’s GDP and employs about 60 percent of the labor force. The 23rd Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union – held June 20-27 – wrapped up in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Friday, June 27, with a number of advances announced.
The Summit was also significant as in that it commemorated the 10 year anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program.
African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma called for increased public-private investment; more irrigation projects, increased access to land; and better use of science and technology to modernize farming.
A March 2013 World Bank report, Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness, called on governments to work side-by-side with agribusinesses to link farmers with consumers in what is becoming an increasingly urbanized Africa.
The World Bank notes that “Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to rise from 4.7 percent in 2013 to a forecasted 5.2 percent in 2014.”
But as far as Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth, “agriculture is under-performing, a point that was also echoed in this detailed study which says that Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods,” Phil Hay, World Bank Spokesperson for the Africa Region told AFKInsider.
Nevertheless, African leaders were confident that Africa can reach the AU target of ending hunger by 2025.
The Summit reaffirmed the importance of agriculture in generating income, creating jobs – particularly for young people and women, and enhancing the malnourished health of the people, as well as diversifying the economy and even increasing international trade of food as an export.
To achieve these objectives, the leaders believe it is urgent to increase investment in the sectors of agriculture, agribusiness, science and technology, and energy, water, telecommunication and road infrastructures.
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