How can Africa boost agricultural productivity and increase public investments? — That was the question put to agriculture and finance ministers from sub-Saharan Africa in two side events at this year’s World Bank-IMF annual meetings.
// Sustaining the CAADP momentum
At the first meeting on 9 October, Abebe Haile Gabriel, the African Union Director for Rural Economy and Agriculture, noted that 2014 was designated as AU’s year of agriculture and food security. In the same year the AU will launch its new plan for CAADP called “Sustaining the CAADP momentum”.
In its next phase, CAADP will focus on implementation, Gabriel said. “We would like to use this opportunity to call on our partners to support the next phase of CAADP which is going to be very exciting,” he noted. CAADP’s next phase will put a new emphasis on issues such as creating stronger platforms for agriculture policy formulation, encouraging private sector development in the agriculture sector, support for climate smart agriculture, education, food security and improved nutrition.
Gabriel also announced that new funding for CAADP, a second multidonor trust fund (MDTF), managed by the World Bank, will be sought. The MDTF is one of a couple funding mechanisms that provides grants to African institutions and finances technical assistance to the CAADP process.
// Boosting public investment in agriculture
At the African ministerial roundtable on 10 October, ministers of finance, economy, planning, and agriculture discussed strengthening agriculture public expenditures in sub-Saharan Africa. The ministers discussed their progress in improving agriculture spending polices and steps that have been taken to improve the quality of funding allocation for agriculture.
Mahama Zoungrana, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security for Burkina Faso, urged participants to consider steps to boost each country's ability to generate financial statistics. “Improving agriculture budget allocations depends on addressing the weaknesses in our statistical abilities,” he said.
World Bank Vice President for Africa Diop agreed with the ministers who said that improvements in data gathering and analysis would go a long way to improve the quality of agriculture allocations. “I am pushing this agenda,” he said.
Several ministers cited the need for increased private sector involvement in agriculture investment and productivity.
// CAADP's progress
Launched by African leaders in 2003, CAADP seeks to encourage governments to increase investments into the agricultural sector and allocate 10% of their public expenditures to the agriculture sector.
Since 2003, 32 countries have created national agriculture investment plans that lay out priorities for meeting the CAADP goals. On average, public agriculture expenditures have risen by over 7% per year across Africa (more than 12% per year in low income countries) and have more than doubled since CAADP’s launch, signaling greater recognition of the agricultural sector as an engine of growth and poverty reduction.