By Jimoh Babatunde
The African Union Commission in collaboration with the NEPAD Agency recently held a technical validation meeting for a Continental Agribusiness Strategy and a framework, operational structure, and implementation business plan for a continental African agribusiness apex body.
The Apex Body meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa was one of the implementation modalities for the Agribusiness Strategy with a focus on stronger engagement of the private sector for agribusiness development on the continent.
The main objective of the meeting was to discuss and validate the Continental Agribusiness Strategy and Implementation Plan and review the outcomes of the ongoing efforts on development of the continental framework for the establishment of the Private Sector Apex Body.
The meeting further provided inputs for the development of a framework for boosting intra-African trade in advancing the implementation of the 2014 Malabo Declaration, which was adopted by AU Heads of State and Government, and spells out seven key commitments for agricultural transformation in Africa.
Opening the meeting, AUC Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), Senior Advisor to Commissioner Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Ernest Ruzindaza, called for enhanced action towards the implementation of the Malabo commitments.
He noted that the role of the private sector towards the realization of the Malabo commitments is critical, emphasizing that, “one of the commitments in the Malabo Declaration which is on “Enhancing Investment Finance in Agriculture,” calls for increased involvement of the private sector, especially targeting strategic agricultural commodities value chains at national, regional and continental level.”
The pivotal role of the private sector in promoting agribusiness guided the development of the Agribusiness Strategy in 2012.
The strategy provided a clear indication of the direction continental agencies were taking with agribusiness promotion, identifying the elements to be carried forward, and outlining the institutional and thematic set-up for agribusiness and trade promotion at the various levels.
Following the adoption of the Malabo Declaration, it became necessary to review the strategy and align it with the commitments made, while highlighting the critical role of the private sector in agribusiness development on the continent.
The CAADP Results Framework 2015-2025 places emphasis on the role of the private sector as a central catalyst and driver of inclusive agribusiness development for sustainable agricultural growth.
The framework is further underpinned by a strong commitment to realise improved African agriculture performance through increased private sector investment along the continent’s agricultural value chains.
To achieve the food security and general sector expansion, development and growth desired, it has been recognized by policy makers in Africa, and continental domestic private sector actors themselves, that a strong and involved domestic private sector will be critically important toward the implementation of CAADP and the achievement of the Malabo Commitments.