SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

27 June 2014

Africa: AU Leaders Call for Youth to Appreciate Role of Farming

President Jacob Zuma says African leaders have identified the need for young people on the continent to appreciate the importance of agriculture in the economy of their countries.

He said agriculture had great potential to unlock sustainable development, food security and job creation in Africa.

The President said this during a working visit to Malabo in the Equatorial Guinea where he led the South African delegation to the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly (AU Summit) under the theme: "2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa".

"An emerging issue identified by the AU leaders was the need for young people to appreciate the importance of agriculture in the economy of their countries," said the President.

The African leaders also noted with concern that women are still involved in subsistence farming.

"Women must take the lead in agriculture and contribute to this growing economic activity, which is vital for dealing with food security," he said.

He said the Heads of State and Government had also discussed peace and security matters, in particular the mobilisation of resources and the operationalisation of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC).

"In order to respond to crises on the continent, the AU Summit took a decision last year to operationalise the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises as an interim mechanism, until the African Standby Force is established," he said.

The President said countries that have volunteered to contribute resources to the ACIRC met during the summit. They discussed the state of readiness of the ACIRC.

"The AU Commission [has] concluded its verification visits to the contributing countries and presented a report on the framework for the operationalisation of the ACIRC, which was endorsed by the contributing countries.

"It is expected that the ACIRC will be launched by October 2014," said the President.

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