The African Union Commission is advancing its efforts to support agricultural transformation in Africa. We see a number of countries increasing their commitments to an evidence-based; stakeholder driven and inclusive; vision, policy and strategy design and implementation. This is the work I have been leading through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). The Commission has been calling on all partners to support Africa’s agriculture and food security agenda through CAADP. Our principal drive is through embracing key fundamental principles which include: Investment in country-led plans and processes; supporting through a comprehensive approach to food security that includes support for humanitarian assistance, sustainable agriculture development and nutrition; ensuring that there is strategic coordination of assistance; noting the importance of a strong role for multilateral institutions; and, ensuring sustained commitment of financial resources.

We have made good progress on a number of fronts, especially rallying African governments along these lines and raising their capacities to advocate for, and working through, these agricultural transformation principles.

Our progress comes with some challenges; CAADP Investment Plans in countries remain unfunded or with funding gaps. Donor and country commitments have been tremendous but are still less than optimal.The public sector funding has remained low despite countries scaling up their own funding.

Given the need for greater investment in African agriculture, The African Union joined with the World Economic Forum, NEPAD and other partners to found the Grow Africa partnership in 2011. Grow Africa is an African-owned, country-led, multi-stakeholder platform that mobilizes private-sector investment in alignment with priorities outlined in countries’ own CAADP plans. As a result, we see Grow Africa as a key instrument and a catalyst to enable CAADP implementation.

Grow Africa was instrumental in mobilizing the private-sector investment commitments totaling over USD $3 billion which were announced in May 2012 as part of the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The Alliance, together with Grow Africa, represents a new way of aligning African governments, the private sector and global partners. We have never seen this level of commitment at such a large scale, both in terms of financial resources and on policy and institutional actions to create change.

Our work and partnership with the World Economic Forum is highly appreciated, and we will maintainour commitment to this work and partnership to drive this process forward.

Author: Rhoda Peace Tumusiime is Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The New Vision for Agriculture: Transforming agriculture through collaboration

Image: A Rwandan tea picker works in a field at Mulindi REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly