The 3rd Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Permanent Secretaries' Leadership Retreat was officially opened yesterday by AUC's Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E Amb. Josefa Sacko, who urged the PS's to utilize their roles as agents of change to transform agriculture and achieve the objectives of the Malabo Declaration.
H.E Sacko recalled the findings of the 2018 inaugural CAADP/Malabo Biennial Review Report and Scorecard presented to the January AU General Assembly, which found that only 20 out of 47 AU Member States were on track to achieve the Malabo Declaration commitments.
"The same findings corroborate with the recent status report on food security which show that the numbers of food insecure people are increasing in Africa. You have the responsibility as Change Agents to turn around this situation and achieve the objectives of the Malabo Declaration by 2025," she said.
Giving his opening remarks, Dr. Eyasu Abreha, Ethiopian State Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, said Ethiopia was one of the countries on track to meeting the Malabo Declaration commitments, as the country placed agriculture at the center of its development agenda.
He urged the continent as a whole to increase investments to the agriculture sector that allows for smallholder farmers to access technology to boost productivity levels.
Also present during the opening session were representatives from the NEPAD Agency and COMESA Secretariat.
AUC's Director of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa presented a report on the implementation of the Malabo Declaration, and made a call to action to Member States to: mobilize adequate technical capacity and increase financial investments, both public and private, in order to reach CAADP-Malabo Commitments by 2025 and to strengthen national bureaus of statistics, focusing on agricultural data collection systems.
Further, he called on AUC, NPCA, RECs, technical and financial partners, private sector, and civil society to mobilize the required support for strengthening mutual accountability and peer review mechanisms in the agricultural sector.
The 3rd Permanent Secretaries' Leadership Retreat will serve as a peer exchange, learning and forward looking engagement platform of AU Member States in implementing the CAADP and Malabo Agenda. The retreat will further discuss for the first time, the outcomes of the Inaugural Biennial Review Report and chart the way forward on how best to utilize the findings of the Report to trigger the required agricultural transformation.
The 1st PS CAADP Retreat, which was held in July 2015, identified key implementation aspects crucial to galvanise national action necessary to domesticate and operationalize the Malabo commitments and the CAADP Results Framework. More importantly, the Retreat reaffirmed the authority and leadership role of Permanent Secretaries in championing national actions in the implementation of the Malabo Commitments.
The 2nd PS CAADP Retreat (2016) was held at the pinnacle of the renewed launch of CAADP country implementation. The retreat reflected on thematic; policy factors and issues presenting either opportunities or challenges to delivering on the Malabo commitments; Validated the revised Country CAADP Implementation Guidelines; and solicited country perspectives on, (i) the CAADP-Malabo Financing Architecture; (ii) the technical networks arrangement to mobilise and make accessible expert support arrangements; and (iii) the revised CAADP Partnership architecture.
The aspirations in the Malabo Declaration underscore CAADP implementation as a national responsibility. It is therefore critical that Permanent Secretaries, as custodians of government policies and national development strategies and plans, including the National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans, fully embrace and internalise the responsibilities of driving the CAADP agenda.
CAADP is an African-led agenda designed to guide Africa's agricultural transformation for sustained food security and socio-economic growth. The 2014 Malabo Declaration is a re-commitment to the CAADP principles adopted by AU Heads of State and Government to provide effective leadership for the attainment of specific goals by the year 2025, including ending hunger, tripling intra-African trade in agricultural goods and services, enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems, and ensuring that agriculture contributes significantly to poverty reduction.
The 3rd PS Leadership Retreat has brought together over 100 participants - Permanent Secretaries and CAADP Focal persons of Ministries of Agriculture, Rural Development, Livestock and Aquaculture, Regional Economic Communities and development and technical partners.
Ms. Carol Jilombo
Africa Union Commission- DREA