The African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, or CAADP, has made steady progress over its past 10 years of implementation. However, the African continent continues to face some key challenges, including the need to provide for the food and nutrition needs of a steadily growing population, economic inequality and rural poverty, disputes over limited natural resources, and the impact of climate change and market globalization. To address these issues, the African Union Commission has developed an implementation strategy and roadmap (IS&R) designed to guide Africa toward the goals of “shared prosperity and improved livelihoods” set forth in the 2014 Malabo Declaration.
The IS&R is driven by two objectives: sustainable, inclusive agricultural growth and strengthened continental, regional, and national capacity. It includes short-, medium-, and long-term milestones for 11 strategic action areas:
1. Adopt measures to increase sustainable agricultural production and productivity in an inclusive manner;
2. Promote development of market infrastructure, regional trade and integration, and value chains;
3. Increase resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate variability and change and other shocks;
4. Strengthen governance of land, water, and other natural resources;
5. Build and strengthen capacity for evidence-based planning, implementation, review, and dialogue;
6. Review and implement policy and institutional reforms that strengthen leadership, management, and technical capacity in agriculture;
7. Strengthen local ownership and leadership to champion agriculture and CAADP agenda and align coordination and implementation partnerships;
8. Enhance skills, knowledge, and agricultural education;
9. Strengthen data and statistics for evidence-based planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and review processes;
10. Establish and institutionalize mutual accountability mechanisms with regular peer reviews and strong dialogue platforms; and
11. Identify and enhance innovative financing models for increased public and private sector finance for agriculture investments along the value chain.
While these action areas reinforce much of the work CAADP has done over the past 10 years, the IS&R differs in several important ways. The most important difference is its emphasis on local ownership. The document recognizes that while international support and coordination across AU member states is critical, at its core, agricultural development remains a national responsibility. Thus, the agreement stresses the need for subsidiarity, which means that the responsibility for making decisions and taking action will be placed in the hands of the lowest governmental or organizational level practicable. This will allow countries to take leadership of their own development, while still receiving support and guidance from the suggested strategic action areas and from regional and continental actors such as NePAD.
The IS&R also emphasizes the need to strengthen regional and continental partnerships to build on the lessons learned over the past 10 years of CAADP implementation, and the need to more fully and transparently track progress using measurable milestones. For example, for the first action area (“Adopt measures to increase sustainable agricultural production and productivity in an inclusive manner”), the roadmap lists one sub-action as “Support post-harvest loss (PHL) management.” It then provides a short-term milestone to achieve this goal: “Inventory, verification, and adaptation of PHL technologies (including indigenous technologies).”
For the second action area (“Promote development of market infrastructure, regional trade and integration, and value chains”), one sub-action is listed as “Harmonize trade regimes, measures and standards, and remove nontariff barriers (NTBs) within and across regional trade blocs (RECs), and domesticate and implement regional and continental trade.” The roadmap then lays out the mid-range milestone that all tariff barriers to intra-African agricultural trade are to be removed by 2020.
By breaking CAADP’s broad development goals down into such clear, tangible milestones, it is hoped that the new roadmap will provide solid guidance for the next 10 years of Africa’s agricultural development.