In June 2014, during the 23rd African Union Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, African leaders came together and made a commitment to accelerate agricultural growth and transformation on the continent. The leaders set specific targets to be achieved by 2025, which are known as the “Malabo Commitments.” These commitments are aimed at promoting food security, reducing poverty, and fostering sustainable development through the agricultural sector.
The Malabo Declaration and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) are closely related and interconnected initiatives aimed at promoting agricultural transformation and food security in Africa. While the Malabo Declaration was adopted in 2014, CAADP predates it, having been established in 2003 as a framework for agricultural development on the continent.
As the anchor policy guide, the CAADP serves as a comprehensive and overarching framework for guiding agricultural development across Africa. It was designed to address the challenges faced by the agricultural sector and promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction through agriculture-led development. CAADP sets out key principles and guidelines to be followed by African countries in developing their national agricultural investment plans.
On the other hand, the Malabo Declaration can be seen as a renewed commitment to the goals and principles laid out by CAADP. It builds upon the foundation established by CAADP and provides specific targets and commitments for African countries to achieve within a specified timeframe. In a sense, the Malabo Declaration represents a more focused and time-bound implementation of CAADP’s principles through the “Malabo Commitments” as contextualized below.
The Malabo Commitments
Commitment 1 – Enhanced Investment in Agriculture: One of the primary objectives of the Malabo Declaration is to increase public and private sector investment in agriculture. This commitment acknowledges that without adequate funding and support, the agricultural sector cannot reach its full potential. By bolstering financial support, African nations aim to improve infrastructure, access to technology, and overall productivity in the agricultural value chain.
Commitment 2 – Eradicating Hunger and Achieving Food Security: The second commitment focuses on ensuring that every citizen has access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food at all times. This ambitious goal recognizes the urgency of addressing food insecurity in Africa, where millions of people still suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition. To achieve this target, the Malabo Declaration calls for increased agricultural productivity, better post-harvest management, and stronger social safety nets.
Commitment 3- Doubling Intra-African Trade in Agricultural Commodities and Services: The Malabo Declaration emphasizes the importance of regional integration and trade within the continent. By doubling intra-African trade in agricultural products and services, African nations seek to promote economic growth and reduce their dependence on external markets. This commitment fosters collaboration and strengthens regional cooperation, creating a more resilient and interconnected African agricultural sector.
Commitment 4 – Enhancing Resilience to Climate Variability and Other Shocks: Climate change poses significant threats to agricultural productivity and food security in Africa. The fourth commitment of the Malabo Declaration addresses this concern by prioritizing resilience-building strategies. By adopting climate-smart agricultural practices and investing in sustainable natural resource management, African nations aim to mitigate the impact of climate variability and other shocks on agriculture.
Commitment 5 – Strengthening Agricultural Research and Technology Dissemination: The Malabo Declaration acknowledges the pivotal role of agricultural research and technology in driving innovation and progress. By investing in research and knowledge-sharing, African nations seek to increase productivity, develop drought-resistant crops, and improve access to vital information for farmers. This commitment is essential in unlocking the transformative potential of the agricultural sector.
Commitment 6 – Enhancing Women and Youth Participation in Agricultural Value Chains: Women and youth play a crucial role in agriculture but often face significant barriers in accessing resources and decision-making processes. The sixth commitment seeks to empower women and youth, ensuring their full and equal participation in the agricultural value chain. By addressing gender and generational disparities, African nations aim to enhance the sector’s inclusivity and overall productivity.
Commitment 7 – Addressing Nutrition and Promoting Healthy Lifestyles: The final commitment of the Malabo Declaration underscores the need to improve nutrition and promote healthy living. This commitment recognizes that food security is not solely about the quantity of food produced but also about its nutritional value. By tackling malnutrition and diet-related diseases, African nations aim to create healthier populations and foster long-term sustainable development.
Achievements and Challenges
Since the adoption of the Malabo Declaration in 2014, several African countries have made notable progress towards achieving the outlined commitments. Some nations have increased their agricultural budgets, leading to improved infrastructure and technology adoption. Initiatives promoting women and youth empowerment in agriculture have gained traction, fostering more inclusive and equitable growth. In addition, regional integration and trade have been positively impacted by efforts to reduce trade barriers and improve logistics. This has contributed to a more interconnected and resilient agricultural sector in Africa.
However, several challenges hinder the full realization of the Malabo Commitments including: inadequate funding, limited access to technology, and inadequate infrastructure remain significant hurdles in many countries. Additionally, the adverse effects of climate change continue to pose threats to agricultural productivity and food security. Addressing these challenges requires sustained political will, regional collaboration, and innovative approaches to agricultural development.
Potential Impact of the Malabo Declaration on Africa’s Future
The Malabo Declaration holds immense potential to transform Africa’s agricultural landscape and contribute to the continent’s overall development. By prioritizing food security and sustainable agriculture, African nations can unlock new economic opportunities, reduce poverty, and improve the overall well-being of their citizens.
Through enhanced investment and research, the agricultural sector can become more resilient to external shocks and better equipped to adapt to changing climate conditions. Additionally, empowering women and youth in agriculture will not only improve their livelihoods but also lead to more inclusive and equitable growth.
Moreover, the emphasis on intra-African trade and regional integration can foster economic diversification and strengthen Africa’s position in the global market. By producing and trading more within the continent, African nations can decrease their dependence on external markets and build stronger economic ties with their neighbors.
Author: Jeremy Riro