9 December 2002, Rome/Abuja -- African leaders will seek better ways to spearhead regional food security programmes at a high-level meeting in Abuja (11-12 December 2002).

In addition to President Obasanjo of Nigeria, eight Heads of State or their representatives are invited to the Abuja meeting in their quality of chairpersons of Africa's Regional Economic Organizations. Presidents Gheddafi (Lybia), Bouteflika (Algeria), Wade (Senegal), Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville), Patasse (Central African Republic), Zenawi (Ethiopia), Muluzi (Malawi) and Bashir (Sudan) are expected in the Nigerian capital.

Dr Omar Kabbaj, President of the African Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chairperson of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Steering Committee, and high-ranking officials from African Regional Economic Organizations, representatives of Farmers Associations and multi-bilateral development and financial agencies will participate in the meeting which is jointly organized by the NEPAD steering committee, ADB and FAO.

Ways and means to harmonize the activities of the regional economic organizations with the NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) are on top of the agenda. Discussions will focus on the role of the regional economic organizations and how to secure their commitment to agriculture, particularly in agricultural trade facilitation, food safety measures to protect the consumers in the Continent and to promote agricultural trade, and regional support to national food security and agricultural development efforts.

Participants will also discuss cooperation between regional and international financial institutions in support of increased investments in agricultural and rural development.

The Abuja meeting is expected to offer a high-level forum to discuss fruitful partnerships amongst the regional/subregional bodies in Africa. It will enhance coordination of initiatives and programmes related to agriculture and food security and facilitate immediate action for addressing the challenges facing Africa. In brief, the meeting will pave the way for improved cooperation between regional economic organizations, NEPAD, ADB, other development partners and individual countries, according to FAO.


The NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme

Prepared by NEPAD with the participation of stakeholders in the Continent and the technical support of FAO, the CAADP was adopted by African Ministers of Agriculture and endorsed by the Implementation Committee of NEPAD alongside the World Food Summit: five years later (10-13 June 2002), the CAADP focuses on three priority areas where increased investments would help improve Africa's agriculture, food security and trade balance:

  • extending the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems;


  • improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for market access;


  • increasing food supply and reducing hunger.


Launched in July 2001 at the OAU Summit in Lusaka, NEPAD provides an African led framework for action aimed at responding to the aspiration of the African people for a better future, with adequate food for a healthy life.

About 200 million people in Africa are chronically hungry and nearly 30 million require emergency food and agricultural assistance in any one year. Africa has become the largest single recipient of food aid; it has also reversed from being a key exporter of agricultural commodities into being a net importer.




Contacts

Mafa Chipeta
Chief of Policy Coordinating Service, FAO
mafa.chipeta@fao.org
(+39) 3481552743

Madhy Bamba
FAO Regional Office for Africa
madhy.bamba@fao.org
(+233) 24319157

Joseph Johnson
FAO representative in Nigeria
FAO-NGA@field.fao.org
(+234) 94137543