We need to strengthen conducive environment for private sector

27Jun 2020
The Guardian
We need to strengthen conducive environment for private sector

 During the last decade, food insecurity and malnutrition appear to have contributed to an increasing frequency of crisis events as well as to the vulnerability of countries to shocks. Most of today's armed conflicts and natural disasters are concentrated in regions heavily dependent-

-on agriculture and in countries with a high proportion of food-insecure households and classified by FAO as "low-income food deficit".

As well as being a consequence of a conflict, food insecurity can be the cause and lead to conflict. Very few new conflicts start in a food secure environment. Hunger may induce conflict when people feel they have nothing to lose and military service offers a free meal and the power that goes with touting a gun.

Poverty in its various forms has increasingly occupied the attention of the international community during the last decade. Successive summits have made commitments to drastically reduce the misery from which so many humans suffer throughout their lives. Such attention is in itself an encouraging step forward, but actual progress is still painfully slow, even though measures to improve the livelihoods of the poor are affordable. Hunger and food insecurity - the most serious forms of extreme poverty - have now become international priorities, and participants in the 1996 World Food Summit made a solemn commitment to halve hunger in the world by 2015.

The Millennium Declaration of 2000 consolidates and restates the commitments agreed during the preceding decade, and can be seen as the final stage of the Summit process. For the first time in a document of its kind, it stresses that, without policies and mechanisms to mobilise private and public resources on a much larger scale, the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for reducing poverty and hunger and for social and sustainable development cannot be achieved. The Declaration is thus a starting point for renewed action in the twenty-first century. The International Conference on Financing for Development can redress the failures and biases of the past by making its prime objective that of ensuring adequate funding for the achievement of the SDGs.

The International Conference on Financing for Development offers the opportunity to put an end to a paradox that characterized the 1990s: that ,while global commitment to progress in the fight against poverty seemed to be gaining strength and the means to tackle the problem were increasing, the volume of resources actually mobilized fell year after year. The gap between commitment and action has widened, which inevitably raises questions about the genuineness of the commitment.

The African Union Commission, together with the African Union’s Development Agency, AUDA-NEPAD, and OCP Group , a leading global producer of fertilizers have strengthened their partnership to support the development of the African Agricultural Sector through the signature of a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

This partnership is intended to facilitate effective coordination of the implementation and delivery of a set of goals as outlined in the African Union Malabo Business Plan on Agriculture Transformation which aims to increase productivity and catalyse private sector investment.

 As such, the parties aim to promote the use of agricultural inputs, including access to customized fertilizer to the soil and crops of each region, and to develop the efficiency of the fertilizer whole value chain by working on corridors approach.

The agreement will therefore be operationalized by strengthening a conducive environment for private sector investment in agriculture; equipping African Union member states with the right policies and tools to support the achievement of the Abuja commitments on fertilizer use; strengthening efficient and sustainable use for smallholders to increase the sector’s productivity and promote inclusive growth; as well as strengthening national and regional agricultural policies aimed at boosting the adoption of good agricultural practices and innovations.

The Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) of the African Union   is one of the continental frameworks under Agenda 2063 and it aims to help African countries eliminate hunger and reduce poverty by raising economic growth through agriculture-led development as well as promote increased national budget provision to the agriculture sector.