African Governments Should Invest 10% of Their National Budgets in Agriculture, Says UNU-INRA Director

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Africa’s governments should commit at least 10% of their national budgets to the agriculture sector, Elias Ayuk, Director of United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) has said.

 While his sentiments have been stated before, a number of African countries have been slow to adopt such policies.

 Speaking at a seminar to discuss a review of the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD’s) Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) & Agricultural Orientation Law of Mali, Ayuk stated that agriculture is vital to both the social and the economic development of the continent’s people.

 NEPAD is an economic development program of the African Union that was adopted at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia.

 “Feeding Africa requires the commitment of African Governments to invest 10% of their national budgets in agriculture,” Ayuk explained.

 On 8 June 2017, the Ministers of Finance for Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda presented their country’s budgets for the 2017/2018 financial year to their respective parliaments. According to an analysis by KPMG (a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services), the countries are looking to strategically position themselves and seize their competitive advantage in the region and beyond.

 Zimbabwe, for instance, committed 9% of its national budget to agriculture last year. Other counties across the continent are gradually inching towards the same.

 In 2016, Kenya’s investment in agriculture has hit 6% of the national budget from 2% in 2003. Then-Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said the country is committed to achieving an allocation of 10% as part of a 2003 Pan-African agreement known as the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security.

 Also at the event, Dr Eric Twum, a Policy Fellow for Climate Change and Sustainable Development Implementation said Africa’s natural resources management policies should adopt a value chain approach that benefits, producers, distributors and manufacturers.

 The seminar follows an earlier gathering where Dr Twum met with Dr Moumini Savadogo, the new Executive Director of the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) to improve the working relationship between UNU-INRA and WASCAL.

 Dr, Twum noted at the time that their meeting was fruitful and was likely to yield positive results for all involved.

 The UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) is one of the 15 Research and Training Centres / Programmes (RTC/Ps) of the United Nations University (UNU). The aim of the Institute is to bridge the gap between science and natural resources management policies in Africa.

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