Rural economies to define fight against poverty in Africa

26Sep 2016
Angel Navuri
The Guardian
Rural economies to define fight against poverty in Africa

Africa’s fight against poverty, hunger and unemployment will be won or lost in rural areas, according to the NEPAD Agency of the African Union.

Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination Directorate, Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong, says Africa’s high economic growth rates have not translated into high levels of employment and reductions in poverty for the youth and those in the rural areas of the continent.

“Africa’s fight against poverty will be won or lost in rural areas, because this is home to about 63% of the population; 73% of the poor live in rural areas.

Agriculture and agroprocessing account for 30-60 percent of GDP, and an even larger share of employment,” she said.

Mrs. Lisinge-Fotabong was addressing the 2nd Africa Rural Development Forum holding in Yaoundé, Cameroon, with the objective to raise awareness of the magnitude of the challenges that Africa is facing in coming decades.

Under the theme “Transforming Africa’s Rural Area through Skills Development, Job Creation and Youth Economic Empowerment”, the meeting is exploring the need for transformational development strategies based on multi-sectoral, place-based and participatory approaches, for job creation.

The NEPAD Agency believes Africa is highly unlikely to escape the poverty trap by giving public expenditure priority to urban-based economic solutions such as import substitution industrialization, export-oriented industrialization and ‘open- economy’ industrialization.

Rather, rural transformation succeeds only when driven by entire economy, meaning there is need to: expand the domestic market; create backward and forward linkages within and between rural and urban sector; and pursue a multi-sector approach to rural transformation.

CEO of the NEPAD Agency, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, noted that attaining Arica’s Agenda 2063 aspirations and goals, to a large extent depends on the change or transformation in Africa’s rural areas – both in location and people terms.

“Advancing rural transformation is not pity or charity to the rural populations. It is critical and integral success factor for Africa’s sustainable economic growth and inclusive development agenda,” he stated.

The AU/NEPAD Rural Futures strategy and agenda for Africa is about driving every nation on the continent towards full employment in both rural and urban areas.

The Africa Rural Development Forum provides a platform for exchange and peer learning on experiences and insights in catalyzing and fostering job creation and skills development in rural based agri- and non-agri-systems as key components to advance rural development.

Thematic areas of discussion include sectoral policies and conditions for job creation including ICT in rural areas of Africa; Rural Finance and Youth Empowerment; Skills, training, empowerment in formal and informal sector for youth economic empowerment; and Green Economy and job creation in advancing Rural Development in Africa.

The Forum is being attended by Ministers of states, experts, civil society including youth and private sector, development partners and local authorities.

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