Yaounde, Cameroon 21-25 February 2000


Table of Contents

Background and Purpose of CAAP: A Recapitulation

CAAP Development Principles and Efforts (1994-1998)

The Contribution of the 20th Regional Conference and Subsequent Developments

The Case for a "Second Track" in the Development of CAAP

Foundations of the proposed "Second Track" to CAAP

Requested Actions by the Regional Conference


The idea of a Common African Agricultural Programme (CAAP) was born in 1992 as part of the early thinking in the African and international development communities on the operationalization of Article 46 of the young Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (AEC).

CAAP was thus conceived as an organizing tool for the pursuit of the agricultural cooperation and integration objectives of the AEC, summarized by the Treaty, in Article 46, as:

To cooperate in the development of agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries in order to:

To serve as such a tool, CAAP must serve the specific agricultural cooperation and integration purposes and areas also identified by the AEC Treaty, namely: the promotion of intra-African cooperation in:

1.     the production of agricultural inputs, fertilizers, pesticides, selected seeds, agricultural machinery and equipment and veterinary products;

2.     the development of river and lake basins;

3.     the development and protection of marine and fishery resources;

4.     plant and animal protection;

5.     the harmonization of agricultural development strategies and policies at regional and Community levels, in particular, in so far as they relate to the production, trade and marketing of major agricultural products and inputs; and

6. the harmonization of food security policies in order to ensure:

  1. the reduction of losses in food production;

  2. the strengthening of existing institutions for the management of natural calamities, agricultural diseases and pest control;

  3. the conclusion of agreements on food security at the regional and continental levels;

  4. the provision of food aid to Member States in the event of serious food shortage; and

  5. the protection of regional and continental markets primarily for the benefit of African agricultural products.

As recalled by the OAU/AEC Secretariat in the Strategy and Approach to the Implementation of the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community - presented to the Experts' Meeting of the First Ordinary Session of the Economic and Social Commission of the AEC (AEC/ECOSOC), held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 6 to 7 June 1996, and underlined in the report on CAAP to the 20th FAO Regional Conference for Africa - the AEC Treaty, and the idea of CAAP, are products of a long succession of high level African commitments to regional cooperation and integration as cornerstones of African development. Notable among the formal embodiments of these commitments are:

  1. The African Declaration on Cooperation, Development and Industry, adopted by the 10th Ordinary Session of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government;

  2. The 1978 Kinshasa Declaration , in which the OAU Council of Ministers undertook, among other things, to "give concrete expression to their political will and commitment in order to foster a practical intra-African cooperation";

  3. The Monrovia Strategy endorsed by the 16th Ordinary Session of the OAU Summit in Liberia in July, 1979, in the form of a Declaration of Commitment in which the Heads of State and Government committed themselves "individually and collectively, on behalf of (their) governments and peoples, to promote the economic integration of the Africa region"; and

  4. The Lagos Plan of Action for the Economic Development of Africa, 1980 - 2000 and the Final Act of Lagos (1980), which reaffirmed the commitment of African Heads of State and Government "to set up, by the year 2000, on the basis of a treaty to be concluded, an African Economic Community..."

The above-mentioned declarations, decision, plans and position documents have been traditionally regarded as logical and political extensions of the founding charter of the OAU itself, which committed its members in Article II to the coordination and intensification of their economic and technical cooperation, notably in the areas of education and nutrition. In that sense, the OAU Charter itself has been seen as adding to the long list of foundation documents underlying the AEC Treaty.


As was to be expected from the foundations of the AEC Treaty itself and therefore of CAAP (agreed by the FAO Regional Conference for Africa and the policy and legislative organs of the OAU and the AEC as an operational instrument of the AEC), the CAAP process was governed and bound to be governed by the African consensus on the development of economic and technical cooperation among African countries in general and the guidelines on agricultural cooperation and integration contained in Article 46 of the AEC Treaty, in particular.

An important part of this consensus, validated by the 18th FAO Regional Conference for Africa which first considered CAAP, was that the CAAP process had to be informed by the positive and negative experiences of the African cooperation and integration movement - and to be fully located within the overall AEC building strategy of basing the Community and its organs, institutions, policies, programmes and projects on the mobilization, participation and support of African populations, civil society, the enterprise sector, organized labour and Community-based and Non-Governmental Organizations, among others.

Based on this "CAAP consensus", the 18th FAO Regional Conference further agreed that:

  1. The CAAP formulation process should benefit from the widest possible consultations with as many stake-holders as possible, at the national, sub-regional and regional levels;

  2. At the regional level where action on CAAP necessarily had to begin, the guidance of Africa's Ministers of Agriculture was to be sought at all appropriate stages, through the FAO Regional Conference for Africa, on the CAAP preparatory process, and on the form, thrust and content of the Programme, before the submission of CAAP related outputs requiring legislative or policy endorsement to the OAU/AEC Council and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government through the AEC/ECOSOC. This was deemed necessary and desirable for harvesting the wisdom of the region's top agricultural sector managers in the development of CAAP and for mobilizing, sustaining and, where necessary, possible and justified, expanding the support of FAO's policy organs for CAAP;

  3. The framework document which was expected to guide the development of CAAP related policies, Programmes, sub-programmes and projects at the country, sub-regional and regional levels was to be called Framework for a Common African Agricultural Programme (FCAAP) rather than Common African Agricultural Programme, the former being but an instrument of the latter; and

  4. FCAAP was to be prepared and considered for possible incorporation into the main body of the Protocol on Food and Agriculture envisaged under Article 47 of the AEC Treaty or annexed to it, to accord it its rightful status as an enforceable instrument of the Treaty's provisions on Food and Agriculture.

These understandings led the 18th FAO Regional Conference, after endorsing the idea of CAAP, to:

At the end of its consideration of CAAP, the 19th FAO Regional Conference, meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in 1998, inter alia:

The 19th FAO Regional Conference's concern about the slow response of Member States to requests for comments and observations on the revised CAAP document sent to them in February, 1995 for review was based on information before it that, as at January 1996 (one year after the requests were made), responses had been received from only eight (8) Member States.

To help move the effective development of CAAP forward, the Regional Conference agreed to request Member States to cooperate more closely with the OAU Secretariat in accelerating the process of adopting the CAAP framework, the immediate objective being the completion of the second and third readings of the framework document.


It may be recalled that the attention of Member States was drawn at the 20th Regional Conference in Addis Ababa in 1998 to the CAAP development stages endorsed by the 18th Regional Conference in Gaborone in 1994 and further reinforced by the 19th Regional Conference in Ouagadougou. These include:

  1. "First reading" of CAAP framework document (Completed in 1994);

  2. Consultations with the FAO Regional Conference for Africa (Initiated at the 18th Regional Conference in Gaborone in 1994 and continued by the 19th and 20th Regional Conferences in Ouagadougou and Addis Ababa in 1996 and 1998 respectively). Continuation and/or frequency of these consultations to be decided by the 20th Regional Conference in the light of the present brief and/or subsequent progress on the development of CAAP);

  3. "Second reading" of FCAAP (To be prepared upon receipt by the OAU/AEC Secretariat of comments and suggestions from at least 50 per cent of OAU/AEC Member States);

  4. National and sub-regional consultations on CAAP involving all stake-holders within and outside Government;

  5. Organisation of the "third reading" of FCAAP, including the preparation of a revised draft incorporating the contributions of national and sub-regional consultative workshops, or with a synthesis of those contributions annexed to the outcome of the "second reading",

  6. Submission of draft approved at "third reading" to FAO Regional Conference for Africa,; and

  7. Submission of the output of the "third reading", with the contributions of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa, to the statutory organs of the AEC for consideration and final adoption.

The Regional Conference's further attention was drawn to the fact that the conditions had not been met for the planned "Second reading".

The 20th FAO Regional Conference consequently :

  1. renewed its endorsement of the requests of the OAU/AEC Secretariat for comments and suggestions by Member States on the existing CAAP framework document;

  2. urged the OAU/AEC Secretariat to make all background documents on CAAP available to Member States, to facilitate their response to the requests for observations on the CAAP framework documents and mobilization of various stakeholders for its development and eventual implementation;

  3. commended the OAU/AEC and FAO on their development work on CAAP and encouraged them to continue to promote it;

  4. called on the OAU/AEC and Member States to continue to emphasize the importance of CAAP, and to seek all possible cooperation from the Regional and Sub-Regional groups in the development of CAAP;

  5. recommended that participants constitute themselves as promoters of CAAP, and in this regard, urged Member States to designate CAAP focal points in their respective ministries;

  6. recommended that the Director-General continue to monitor progress on CAAP, and report to the 21st Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa on cooperation on CAAP development received from Member States since the 20th Session and corresponding achievements; and

  7. further recommended that the Director-General continue to support the OAU/AEC Secretariat, to the extent possible, in moving the CAAP process forward.

Following the 20th Regional Conference, the FAO Regional Representative for Africa, at the request of the OAU/AEC Secretariat, under cover of a transmittal letter from, and through FAO Representatives (and, where necessary, UNDP Representatives) in the Region, distributed all background documents on CAAP to Member States to facilitate their response to the requests for observations on the CAAP framework documents and mobilization of various stakeholders for its development and eventual implementation, as requested.

The momentum generated by the Regional Conference in Addis Ababa and the combined follow-up action by the AEC Secretariat and FAO have permitted progress to be made to the extent of bringing Member States' response to the request for their comments and suggestions on FCAAP just short of the minimum 50% response rate recommended by previous Regional Conferences as required for the "second reading".

Nine countries have also designated CAAP focal points, as requested by the 20th Regional Conference.

While these developments are encouraging, acceleration of the CAAP process would suggest a need to pursue the formal adoption of a CAAP Framework document as part of the agenda of CAAP development while considering a second available option for realizing its contributions to agricultural cooperation and integration in Africa along the lines indicated by Article 46 of the AEC Treaty.

The responses from Member States to the CAAP Framework document, while numerically insufficient for consideration of its " second reading", do fortunately have the merit of providing potential vitality to the " second leg" of the CAAP development process.


The case for a " second track" in the development of CAAP rests essentially on the premise that while the adoption of a CAAP Framework document would provide a useful supplement to the guidelines on agricultural cooperation and integration in Africa enshrined in the AEC Treaty itself, CAAP is and should be about goals and process - not necessarily a document.

The case is reinforced by the following considerations, among others:

  1. recognition in the CAAP Framework document, and by successive Regional Conferences, of the fact that the AEC Secretariat, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), other African Inter-Governmental Organizations (notably several river and lake basin development and management Organizations), FAO and other international agencies were already embarked on initiatives and activities that advanced CAAP aims and processes without being specifically under the umbrella of the Programme;

  2. guidance from successive Regional Conferences, reinforced by comments and suggestions by a number of Member States regarding FCAAP, on the need to build CAAP on the foundations provided by the legislative instruments, programmes, policies and activities and achievements of the RECs;

  3. recognition that the decentralization to the RECs and deconcentration to other concerned African Inter-Governmental Organizations of appropriate cooperation and integration arrangements and activities would promote ownership of relevant components of CAAP by Member States by increasing their effective leadership and control of the integrative processes nearest and dearest to them;

  4. while FCAAP has highlighted a number of policy and technical issues and choices (for instance, a CAAP based trade strategy within the post-Uruguay international trading environment, including for agricultural commodities; food security etc), those issues and choices now require to be settled or negotiated in the more manageable settings of RECs and other appropriate Inter-Governmental Organizations, pending, at least, further development of the AEC;

  5. the fact that CAAP, like the AEC itself, is designed to be an instrument of (sub)regional as well as regional or continental development; and

  6. the need, as an intended tool of the AEC, for CAAP development to be closely aligned with the methodology adopted for the establishment of the Pan African Economic Community itself.

Without prejudice, therefore, to the importance of an agreed CAAP Framework document but bearing in mind the need to accelerate progress on CAAP development - whatever the status of FCAAP - a second track is proposed for the development and implementation of the Programme in which the identification, formulation or strengthening of relevant agricultural cooperation and integration mechanisms, schemes, projects and activities - in cooperation with the RECs and other concerned IGOs - will be privileged over the adoption of framework documents at any level.


As a first step towards the development and implementation of the "second track" the following set of activities would be needed, not necessarily in a chronological order:

  1. requests by Member States to their designated CAAP focal points - and those to be designated - to work towards the installation of CAAP development (through purpose built programmes or the addition of "CAAP dimensions" to existing or planned agricultural cooperation and integration schemes at the sub-regional level) on the agenda of the policy organs of the RECs and other concerned IGOs and re-affirmations by the respective policy organs of commitment to CAAP;

  2. inventory of major agricultural cooperation and integration activities in Africa - regional, sub-regional, inter-sub-regional and natural resource based , with the view to identifying:
  1. arrangements for mobilizing the necessary institutional, human, financial and other resources - at the national, sub-regional, regional and international levels - for developing, implementing or strengthening sub-regional CAAPs (Sub-CAAPs) and Resource or Programme based Cooperation and Integration Activities and Schemes of an inter-sub-regional nature.

Responsibility for the development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of policies, programmes, projects and activities based on the above foundations will have, necessarily, to be located at the mandated action levels.

For coordination and Pan-African Economic Community building purposes the action levels should liaise on " second track " activities with the appropriate AEC organs, in accordance with the AEC Treaty; the Protocol on Relations between the AEC and the RECs; or other appropriate instrument.


        The Regional Conference may wish to:

  1. endorse the "second track" proposal outlined above;

  2. commend the "second track" to Member States and invite the policy and legislative organs and Secretariats of the AEC, the RECs and the concerned IGOs to do the same - and to assist the appropriate support and operational agencies, within their fields of competence, in laying the foundations for CAAP development through it;

  3. renew its request to Member States to designate CAAP focal points in their respective Ministries;

  4. further urge Member States to designate CAAP focal points in their Embassies accredited to the OAU/AEC and their OAU/Africa Desks in their Ministries of Foreign/External Affairs - to facilitate their diplomatic involvement in CAAP development, including the necessary promotion of CAAP at the legislative and policy organs' meetings of RECs and concerned IGOs, in cooperation with CAAP focal points in the Ministries responsible for agricultural/rural development;

  5. request the Director-General to continue to support, to the extent possible, the development and implementation of CAAP, including through the " second track", as appropriate; and

  6. further request the Director-General to continue to monitor progress on the development of CAAP, including responses by stakeholders, to the " second track", and report to the 22nd FAO Regional Conference for Africa accordingly.