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Food Security: Ghana, Rwanda beat Nigeria to gain AU recognition on Malabo Declaration

A REPORT highlighting the performances of African Union (AU) member nations on the implementation of the Malabo Declaration has recognised Ghana, Rwanda, Morocco and Mali among countries that surpassed the benchmark set out for member countries to realise food security and agricultural development target.

Nigeria did not meet up with the benchmark.

Key findings from the report show that Rwanda, Morocco and Mali have remained committed to the AU agreement on agricultural productivity since 2017 when the review was inaugurated; Ghana satisfied the requirement in the last performance evaluation.

Speaking during BR strategy engagements and dissemination meeting held in Abuja, Constance Okeke, International Project Manager, Public Finance for Agriculture, ActionAid International disclosed that the meeting was to ensure non-state actors are able to understand the report in order to hold their respective governments more accountable, particularly in driving promises made by the respective governments.

Notable among the targets is for member countries to set aside 10 percent budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector.

To rank their performances, signatories to the agreement were expected to attain the 6.66 benchmarks. Rwanda (7.24), Morocco (6.97), Mali (6.82) and Ghana (6.67)

“Overall, only three member countries Rwanda, Morocco and Mali have stayed on-track in both the inaugural and second biennial review reporting cycle. The majority of member states scored below the benchmarks in both rounds, while 17 countries that were on track in 2017 were unable to maintain it in 2019,” she said in her presentation.

“Ghana is recognised as the only member state that has moved from not-on-track in the 2017 inaugural BR to on-track in 2019.”

The biennial initiative report is an idea of the AU Heads of State. It is done every two years basically to review the implementation progress of African countries in terms of achieving the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Target.

It could be recalled that in 2003, the African Head of State agreed on the Maputo Declaration on CAADP among which is for member states to earmark 10 percent of their annual budgets to the agricultural sector.

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They also agreed to increase by six percent annual growth in the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

By June 2014, the Heads of State met in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to renew their commitment to the earlier Maputo declaration.

As such, seven development targets were adopted and these formed the basics for the biennial review performance report used to measure performances of member countries in alignment with set targets.

Some of the targets include recommitment to the CAADP principles and values, enhancing investment finance in agriculture, ending hunger by 2025 and boosting intra-Africa trade in agricultural commodities among others.

In 2017, the first BR was developed and presented to the African Heads of State in 2018 while the current BR was prepared in 2019 but presented to the African presidents in February 2020.

To ascertain performances of the member countries, the initial benchmark was 3.94 but it was reviewed upward to 6.66.

Though she recognised some level of progress among some of the member countries as reflected in the report, only the four nations met with the set target.

Okeke also identified poor data collection as a major problem in Nigeria. She assumed the same factor could have affected other nations from meeting up with the agreed target.

Poor financing of agricultural projects was also highlighted in the report.

“If you look at the role of agriculture in the lives of Africans, you begin to question why governments would not increase investments in agriculture,” she said stressing that “After all, the commitment to setting aside 10 percent of the annual budget as stated by the Maputo Declaration was not made by the citizens but by the governments.”

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She called for joint efforts to advocate for government to improve investments in agriculture.

This, she noted, would help ensure food security, reduce conflicts and foster the overall development of the member countries.

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