AU Chair calls for agritech modernisation


Nairobi – Africa Union Chairperson, Dlamini-Zuma, is advocating for the employment of the latest technology and modern machines in farming to attract more African young women and men into the industry thus improving livelihoods of many African families.

And since young men and women constitute the majority of the population on the continent and are unemployed, application of modern technology will provide job opportunities and help eradicate poverty.

The move, according to Dlamini-Zuma, will equip most youth with skills and keep them busy in their home villages to decrease the habit of rural-urban migration and keep them off the streets.

She noted that agriculture occupies a priority place in Africa’s economy, and has no other equivalent in combating poverty hence challenged member states to think more strategically to do more.

The AU Chairperson made the call when she addressed the Session of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Governments Orientation Committee held on the margin of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, this past week. 

The summit held from June 26 to 27 was held under the theme “Agriculture and Food Security”. Dlamini-Zuma called for more access to land and credit facilities as concrete support to young people, who constitute the majority of the population engaged in farming.

However, she expressed concern that 10 years after the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, the results were still below set indicators.

At the same summit, Senegalese president Macky Sall echoed Zuma’s sentiments and highlighted the impact of AU in driving Africa’s economic and social development.

He stressed the need for structural transformation to set the basis for sustainable development beyond the current average 5 percent growth rate.

President Sall noted that the high-level roundtable was aimed at sharing experiences on structural transformation, which also depends on financing and implementing Africa’s Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA).

Key resolutions reached were support for agricultural transformation through the implementation of agricultural transformation for accelerating growth, harnessing markets and trade opportunities and enhancing investment financing in agriculture.

Other areas are focus on food security and nutrition with an objective towards ending hunger and malnutrition in Africa and enhancing resilience of Africa’s agriculture to climate change shocks and other natural hazards.

Also discussed were strategic areas of cooperation and support by the World Bank ranging from livestock and pastoralism, fisheries and aquaculture, to agricultural research and innovation, gender and women’s empowerment as well as the land policy initiative.

According to World Bank report, technology development, adaptation, acquisition, and application are among the key factors that determine a country’s economic and social well-being, prospects for poverty reduction, and competitiveness in the global economy. 

Within a knowledge economy framework where the pillars of education, innovation, and information and communication technologies occupy a central place, WB states technology development is a cross-cutting factor that has profound impact on how a country is able to best fulfil its potential.

Many African countries are historically associated with natural resources and raw materials. 

Most of the economies have either stagnated or grown slowly.

A few have prospered but their lessons are often not easy to extend to others. 

There is now a growing recognition that Africa can only strengthen its economic performance through considerable investment and use and development of technology.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, the role of innovation and technology development has increased significantly over the past decades. 

“This transformation can be seen not only in the exponential growth of mobile phones, the growing use of computers and consumer electronic goods, and the rise of certain countries such as South Africa that have mainstreamed numerous technology applications into the private and public sectors,” states the World Bank report.

July 2014
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