The 22nd African Union (AU) Summit kicked off yesterday at the headquarter of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. According to the AU’s press release, the central theme of the discussions will be “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development”. Leaders and representatives participating in the Summit are expected to discuss a various topics including peace and security, gender inequality/gender integration, disaster management, climate change, agriculture and food security. The Summit also considers reports by African leaders and experts. The last two days of the Summit, 30 and 31st January, will feature the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU. According to the AU, for the 22nd Summit, the Heads of State and Government will launch the year 2014 as the ‘Year of Agriculture and Food Security’ marking the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Due to the rapid population increase, the rise in food prices and declining agricultural production, it is imperative that African leaders and representatives attending the Summit press hard to bring about development in the agriculture which employs 65 percent of the continents labor force, contributes 32 percent to the GDP and above of all, serves as a source of income and livelihood millions Bank, 2013). Despite the progresses in the agricultural development and food security, Africa, as an agrarian continent has long way to go to feed its growing population, eradicate poverty and bring about sustainable development. Development and investment in agriculture has multiplicative positive impact if coupled with sustainable economic policies, accountable and democratic government, protection of human rights, environmental stewardship, gender integration/women empowerment, engagement of civil society organizations (CSOs) and local capacity building. Despite the strides towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ending poverty and extreme hunger in Africa will likely to call for another round of development goals which should incorporate experiences of past 14 years in addition to new propositions.
The participation of H.E. Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Co-Chairperson of the High Level Panel on Post-2015 Development is expected to present the position of Africa on the Post 2015 Development Agenda. She is expected to share the findings from High Level Panel with other African leaders. One of the proposed goals that came out of the Panel’s report is ensuring food security and nutrition. Ensuring food security and nutrition in Africa where the economy of most countries depends on agriculture requires empowering men and women of the continent to end their hunger. This can be realized by mobilizing people at the grassroots level to build self-reliance, empowering women as key change agents and forging partnerships with local government (THP, 2014). Moreover, leaders of the continent should incorporate the policy recommendations that come out of this Summit and develop policies that specifically address hunger and hunger related challenges in the foreseeable future. Also is bringing about good governance and establishing institutions that will help eradicate hunger and implement other Post-2015 Agendas with women and men of the continent as the driving forces.
African Union. (2014). Agriculture, Food and Security at the centre of African Union Summit. Retrieved on January 22, 2014 from http://summits.au.int/en/22ndsummit/events/agriculture-food-and-security-centre-african-union-summit
The Hunger Project. (2014). Program Overview. Retrieved on January 22, 2014 fromhttp://www.thp.org/what_we_do/program_overview
High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda. (2012). A NEW GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP: ERADICATE POVERTY AND TRANSFORM ECONOMIES THROUGH SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Retrieved on January 22, 2014 from
World Bank. (2014). Fact Sheet: The World Bank and Agriculture in Africa. Retrieved on January 2, 2014 from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/0,,print:Y~is CURL:Y~contentMDK:21935583~pagePK:146736~piPK:146830~theSitePK:258644,00.html