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October 2004

New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD): Towards Agriculture and Environment Nexus

by Alemneh Dejene
Environment and Natural Resources Service
FAO Research, Extension and Training Division

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is a home-grown approach to tackling Africa’s many development challenges. It represents the vision and collective determination of African leaders to place their respective countries on the path of self-reliant sustainable development. The NEPAD vision recognizes the key role that increased agricultural productivity can play, driven by widespread adoption of improved technology and targeted investment, in poverty reduction in Africa. The international community at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002, welcomed and embodied NEPAD and pledged its support to the implementation of its vision. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the NEPAD Secretariat and endorsed by African Ministers of Agriculture - is an important step towards achieving NEPAD’s goal of fostering broad-based agricultural-led economic growth in African countries by focusing on improving agricultural productivity and competitiveness.

To attain this vision, the CAADP aims at putting agricultural growth and competitiveness back on top of Africa’s development agenda. It aims to do this by focusing investments in four key pillars that would require an indicative cost of US$251 billion between 2002 and 2015 in the following areas: (a) expansion and maintenance of the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems requiring approximately US$69 billion; (b) improvement of rural infrastructure US$126 billion, and trade related capacity for market access US$3 billion; (c) enhancement of food supplies and reduction of hunger (involving smallholder technology and policy improvement US$8 billion and safety net and emergencies US$35 billion. A fourth and long-term pillar is in agricultural research and technology dissemination and adoption estimated to cost US$5 billion.

However, one major shortcoming of the CAADP is that there is heavy emphasis on agricultural crops and little on the livestock, fisheries and forests sectors even though these sectors have been a central part of food supply as well as an important source of income in most African countries. Furthermore, the issues of environmental sustainability and natural resources management have been lacking in the CAADP. Realizing this, FAO has prepared a companion document on the forestry, fisheries, and livestock sectors which was endorsed by the NEPAD Secretariat and the FAO Regional Conference for Africa in March 2004. This paper highlights the challenges and the opportunities facing Africa in the sustainable utilization and management of its natural resources and sustainable development of the livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors, which are crucial to the attainment of the objectives of CAADP.

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