African Leaders Make Declaration Against Climate Change

AGRF 2020

September 4, 2019 

African leaders have formalised their commitment to fight climate change through a declaration read by Hon. Ezzeddin Abu Steit, Egypt’s Minister for Agriculture and Land Reclamation at the presidential summit of the 2019 Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). 

The AGRF Declaration on Increasing Adaptation and Resilience of African Food Systems identifies climate change as a challenge that could stall the continent’s bid to feed its growing populations. Africa’s inhabitants will double to 2.4 billion by 2050 requiring the continent to scale up its food production efforts while tackling the challenges brought about by climate variability.  

It is such data that drove heads of state and government ministers, entrepreneurs and farmers to commit to a Declaration that calls on everyone to individual accountability in the solutioning process. 

The declaration lists five critical actions that must be pursued for a secure future. Among these measures is the requirement for all of the 55 member nations to embed resilience in their national agriculture plans, the adoption of proven technologies to support adaptation and resilience, and the involvement of women and youth as key change agents. 

Additionally, the Declaration holds African governments to the promise of investing in research and Early Warning, Early Action (EWEA) systems.

“Early Warning, Early Action mechanisms provide crucial information for decision making at the farmer level. We commit to investing in mapping risks to better prepare for emergencies and to put measures in place to safeguard livelihoods and to recover from extreme weather events,” read Hon. Steit from the declaration.

Furthermore, the Declaration called on African leaders to support agricultural advisories that leverage digital technologies to inform farmers choices. 

The declaration was preceded by a panel discussion featuring Ghana’s President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Nigeria’s H.E. Yemi Osinbajo, Rwanda’s Prime Minister H.E. Edouard Ngirente and H.E. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner, African Union Agriculture and Rural Economy. 

Revolving around the future of African agriculture, the panel discussion, moderated by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, concluded that the continent has the ability to feed itself, and to leave surpluses for sale to the rest of the world. 

To this end, H.E. Akufo-Addo recommended the shift of Africa’s agriculture growth strategy from a development-assisted framework to a market-driven system.

“With the partnerships we are pursuing in the continental Free Trade Area, we are going to have a huge market. We also have to make the arrangements that will make us penetrate the markets of the world,” H.E. Akufo-Addo said. 

H.E. Addo further recommended investments in technology as key to Africa’s agricultural success. 

“There are developments in the technology space and we need to be strategic in the alliances and partnerships we are building so that technology assists us in our agriculture,” he said. 

H.E. Sacko, H.E Ngirente and H.E. Osinbjo all agreed with President Akufo-Addo regarding the need to invest in digital technologies. 

“We need to push this agenda of digital agriculture as it is important for achieving our vision 2063 goals,” H.E. Sacko concluded.