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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General and African Union Commission Chairperson discuss importance of women and youth for African development

Zuma raises concerns about the need to modernize agriculture and support rural women

José Graziano da Silva with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

23 June 2014 , Malabo- FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, mettoday ahead of the opening of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee in Malabo.

The Director-General and the Chairperson exchanged views on the importance of women and youth, especially in this African Year of Agriculture and Food Security. Zuma raised a concern about the need to modernize agriculture and support women in rural areas. She called for a real shift in responding to this wish from African leaders and making it a reality.

The Director-General commended the leadership of the Chairperson and congratulated her for putting agriculture at the center of this week’s African Union Summit, celebrating not only the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) but also the African Union Year of Agriculture and Food Security as well as the International Year of Family Farming.

In this context, the two leaders also discussed the importance of supporting women’s equitable access to land, inputs and credit. The Director-General informed Zuma that the Voluntary Guidelineson theResponsible Governance ofTenureofLand, FisheriesandForests are being implemented in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Tackling the issue of rural employment along value chains, the Director-General and the Chairperson agreed that women could benefit particularly from being involved in product transformation. Graziano da Silva informed the Chairperson about four regional Africa Solidarity Trust Fund projects signed the same day that will support women and youth. The Director-General announced the approval of the project to support NEPAD capacity to implement the African Union’s vision in this regard.

Zuma welcomed the participation of the FAO Director-General in this African Union Summit and his commitment to the eradication of hunger on the continent.

After the meeting, the FAO Director-General was set to speak at both the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) and the General Assembly of the African Union on keeping up the CAADP momentum and eradicating hunger by 2025.

The President of the HSGOC and President of Senegal Macky Sall chaired the meeting, at which Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz also took part.