Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country failed. Ethiopia, the second most populous country on the continent also failed. South Africa, one of the biggest economies in Africa failed as well. It was the same thing for Ghana, West Africa’s powerhouse after Nigeria, and Kenya, East Africa’s strong economy. In central Africa, Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic all failed.
It’s a complex situation on the continent. On the one hand, most African countries talk loudly and relentlessly about diversification of their economies, especially tearing into the agricultural arena. On the other hand, not much is being done beyond talks, promises and setting up of committees, many of them.
The 2017 report, for instance, revealed that only 20 of the 47 Member States that reported were on track towards achieving the commitments set out in the Malabo Declaration.
However, on Monday, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali presented the agriculture scorecard to the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, only 4 countries – Burkina Faso, Burundi, Mali and Mauritania out of 49 Member States met the target of spending at least 10 percent of the total national expenditure on agriculture. The others, including Abiy’s own country, failed.
The second Biennial Review Report on the implementation of the June 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods showed out of the 49 Member States that reported on progress in implementing the Malabo Declaration during this 2019 biennial review cycle, only the four countries of Burkina Faso, Burundi, Mali and Mauritania were on-track towards achieving the Malabo commitments by 2025. Back in 2017, that number was 20, a significant decrease of 16 members.
The Biennial Review Report presented by Prime Minister Abiy, who doubles as AU Leader of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), noted, however that 36 countries have made significant improvement in their score from the 1st BR (bi-annual report) to the 2nd BR.
The benchmark for the 2019 cycle 6.66, was much higher than that of the 2017 cycle which was 3.94.
The report tracks progress in commitments made by AU Heads of State and Government through CAADP and the Malabo Declaration to increase prosperity and improved livelihoods for transforming agriculture.
The indicators chosen to track the performance categories were defined on the basis of the strategic objectives derived from the Malabo Declaration.
The African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Josefa Sacko, said, “The BR Report is a performance assessment tool as well an advocacy tool to guide planning and decision making for Africa’s Agricultural Transformation.”
The document captures the continent’s agricultural progress based on a pan-African data collection exercise led by the African Union Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), AUDA-NEPAD and Regional Economic Communities in collaboration with technical and development partners. Member States were assessed on the seven commitments in the Malabo Declaration, across 47 indicators.
The four Member States, which obtained or surpassed the benchmark of 6.66 to be on-track toward achieving the commitments of the Malabo Declaration by 2025 are: Rwanda (7.24), Morocco (6.96), Mali (6.82) and Ghana (6.67).
Analysis of the reports shows that the continent remains off-track in achieving the overall Malabo Declaration commitments, obtaining an overall score of 4.03 compared to the benchmark of 6.66 to be on-track.
In the Malabo Declaration, AU Member States committed to report on a biennial basis, the progress in achieving the 7 commitments of the Declaration which were translated into seven thematic areas of performance, including Re-committing to the principles and values of the CAADP process; Enhancing investment finance in agriculture; Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025; Reducing poverty at least by half, by 2025, through inclusive agricultural growth and transformation; Boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services; Enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate variability and other related risks; and Strengthening mutual accountability to actions and results.