2002, Rome/Abuja -- Implementing concrete regional
projects which focus on developing Africa's agricultural
potential are essential to improve food security in Africa. The
message was given by Dr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), during a high-level
meeting on the development of agriculture held in Abuja.
The meeting (11-12 December 2002) was
organised in the Nigerian capital by FAO, the New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African
Development Bank (ADB). It was attended by President Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria, President Omar AlBashir of Sudan,
high-level officials from BAD and NEPAD as well as officials
from African regional economic and bilateral and multilateral
aid agencies. Discussions focused on the role of African
regional economic organizations in implementing regional
programmes for food security within the NEPAD framework.
Implementing the programme of
infrastructure and above all developing energy, communication
and storage facilities will enable Africa to achieve its full
agricultural potential Dr Diouf said. He welcomed the
agricultural development programme prepared by the NEPAD.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture
Development Programme (CAADP), prepared in collaboration with
FAO, has an annual cost of 17.9 billion dollars, gives priority
to the control of water, developing rural infrastructure and
access to markets and increasing and diversifying agricultural
production. It will be completed by the agricultural research
The Abuja meeting,
"should allow further discussions between the African
Regional Economic Organizations and development partners in
order to move from a continental programme to bankable regional
projects to be implemented on a national level," Dr
Diouf told delegates.
is of urgent character," FAO's Director-General
said, adding that African agriculture faces crisis due to ever
more frequent droughts, and occasional flooding, because it is
too dependent on climatic hazards.
"Increasing production is essential for
overcoming hunger," Dr Diouf said and added,
"A more productive and diversified agricultural
activity is also needed, and water needs to be brought under
control, so that jobs can be created, income-generating
activities developed and access to markets improved."
"It was with this in mind that, in
1994 and in partnership with the countries of Africa and the
donors, FAO launched its Special Programme for Food Security
which makes it possible, through South-South cooperation, to
transfer simple and low-cost techniques and to remove
socio-economic constraints," he said, adding the
Programme encourages the creation of a favourable macro-economic
framework for investment growth.
"The African Development Bank, NEPAD and FAO
are ready to work closely with economic organizations to define
steps, calendar and the necessary means for the speedy
preparation of bankable projects," Dr Diouf said,
adding he was convinced that the high-level experience and
competence of participants at the meeting would enable them to
meet their objectives.
In his speech Dr
Diouf reminded world leaders that during the World Food Summit
in 1996 they had undertaken commitments to eradicate world
hunger and set an immediate objective of halving the number of
malnourished people by 2015.
this very moment, there are 200 million people in Africa
suffering from chronic malnutrition and, each year, some 30
million require emergency food aid which amounted in 2000 to 2.8
million tonnes," Dr Diouf said adding that there was a
long way to go in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and
Chief of Policy Coordinating Services, FAO
(+39) 348 1552743
FAO Regional Office
representative in Nigeria