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NEPAD CEO Addressed Africa’s Main Challenges

May 18, 2012

The transformation of African agriculture is getting visible impact, but important challenges still need to be addressed, said Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD Agency CEO, speaking at the 8th CAADP Partnership Platform Meeting. The crucial role of agriculture in the overall development in all African countries cannot be overemphasized, especially considering that the bias against agriculture was long ago and structural adjustment has changed very little, added Mayaki in his keynote statement in Nairobi, Kenya.

In the statement, the following four challenges were highlighted:

Food Security

“Food security is a matter of national security and economic stability,” Mayaki said.  No one could ignore the fact that Africa has made great efforts in doubling its yields in the past 50 years. But if considering it in a global background, it is very clear that Asia is doing better: the food production was more than tripled in Asia in the same period, thanks to the agricultural technology adoption on small-holder farmers and governments’ support on agriculture. This is the context to understand that why the main goal of CAADP is to increase agricultural productivity.

Population Growth

Half of African population will live in cities by 2035. Twenty African cities are listed in the top 30 cities with the highest rate of growth in the world. So when cities double their populations and more young Africans enter the job market, how to absorb the surplus labor becomes extremely important.

Emerging Trends

There are a number of emerging trends that the Africa as a whole should pay more attention and the following is just a few: the potential investment opportunities in Africa’s arable land, profitability of biofuels in local food production, sustainable financing through domestic and international investments from private sectors and technical support to farmers on climate change adaptation.

Agriculture for Development

While agriculture sector has been recognized as an important component of national development in the rest of the world, it has been neglected in all models of African development. World Bank’s study has indicated that countries that had the highest agricultural growth also had the greatest reduction in malnutrition. Decision makers in Africa should change their practices and policies to boost agricultural growth, and as a result, achieve rapid economic growth at the continent.

Regional Dialogues under CAADP Agenda

The CAADP has a continental competency to promote regional collaborations as well as to encourage partnerships between public and private sectors. As of April 2012, 30 countries have signed the compact. A total of 23 countries have completed their investment plans, while an additional 14 countries would complete within 2012.  Mayaki said that CAADP will take its next step in accelerating the implementation of CAADP agenda to address those challenges and achieve rapid agricultural growth in Africa.

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