From 7 to 18 May 2018, the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) organized a course on Agricultural Policy in Africa for the benefit of 28 public officials drawn from the following African countries : Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa, Chad, Comoros, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. One of the participants came from Economic Community of Central African States (EEAC).
The course exposed participants not only to the current state of knowledge and the comparative lessons which are available to Africa, but also some of the best practices that serve as pertinent examples of how an integrated and comprehensive agricultural policy regime has been used to promote economic transformation and develop resilience faced with climate change.
Madam Karima Bounemra Ben Soltane, IDEP Director, highlighted the importance of agriculture in structural economies. She mentioned that the last Conference of Ministers was an opportunity to discuss agricultural issues as job and growth booster. Besides, the poor quality of our infrastructures added to the tariff barriers made quasi impossible exportations of agricultural products among African countries. Which led to lots of importations because prices was lower compared to what the countries from Africa are proposing. Also, she added that solutions should be found in order to make this sector more attractive for youth who represent the majority of African population.
Before closing her speech, she recalled the tribute paid to late Prof. Adedeji, former Executive Secretary of the African Economic Commission during the Conference of Ministers. Indeed ECA has started organizing series of lectures name Adedeji lectures on critical and relevant, to acknowledge his love and devotion to Africa.
Dr Rugube the Course Director said that we should orient the reflection towards an agriculture resilient to climate change. Since problems seems to be the same everywhere in Africa, mainly policies are still very good but implementation remains the major challenge. He advised participants to share experiences between countries and best practices. In the same vein, the Class Representative, Mr. Nguetsop from Cameroon, recalled that the continent has all natural resources one can imagine, but only an inclusive management and governance can solve the problems.
The closing ceremony was chaired by Dr Dogo Seck, General Secretary, representing Dr Abdoulaye Seck, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment of Senegal. He pleaded for more self-willing to achieve "dreams". He totally agreed with the previous speakers by reaffirming that our continent overflown with potential and therefore, Africans could achieve self-sufficiency. Dr Seck said that we Africans should get rid of stereotype like Africa is one and unique region, a continent of poverty, misery and hunger, driven by wars. Last but not least, the Chair concluded by saying that we should never forget that science is the basis for every kind of development. We just need to identify problems, propose solutions and make previsions.
Members of the diplomatic corps who graced to occasion thanked IDEP for focusing its capacity building on this very important topic. Indeed, other continents launched their development process through agriculture. We have land, water and workforce. We have now to invest on capacity building to develop expertise in this field. They encouraged the participants to maintain alive the network in order to contribute to the development of our continent.