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2.2 Political Support

The political support rendered agriculture in Brazil, China, Vietnam, Thailand and other countries now hailed as initial success stories, has largely been lacking in Africa until very recently. After decades of relative negligence by national governments, bilateral donors, and multilateral organizations as well as national governments alike, agriculture in the last decade has begun to climb back to the top of political, economic, and development agendas in Africa.

The establishment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) was a political watershed in Africa.[1] In 2003, NEPAD together with the African Union (AU) issued the key strategy platform for the development of African agriculture, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). This is a strong manifestation of African governments' commitment to address issues of growth within the sector, promoting rural development and food security. In 2005, African heads of state adopted the Maputo Declaration,[2] whereby African governments provided strong political support to CAADP. Member countries of the AU are committed, inter alia, to allocate at least ten percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development, with the aim to secure an annualized sectoral growth rate of six percent. Pillar two of the CAADP calls for the private sector to help accelerate growth in the agricultural sector, i.a. through fostering partnerships to promote infrastructure development related to agriculture.[3]

In addition to this, leadership and country ownership of the agricultural growth corridor approach, has been a determining factor, particularly in Tanzania where President Kikwete's active and personal engagement together with a range of in country champions has been instrumental in the early stage success of the approach.

2.3 African Green Revolution

In 2004 in Addis Ababa, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, challenged the world to create a genuine African Green Revolution.[4] Participating in the Addis seminar, Yara[5] decided to head the response to Annan's challenge to the private sector. In conjunction with its centenary celebration in 2005, Yara launched its Africa program, subsequently hosting the Oslo series of African Green Revolution Conferences, initiating local partnerships, and launching the concept of agricultural growth corridors. This concept has now developed into two concrete corridors, one in Mozambique and one in Tanzania.[6]

For Yara, its support of the African Green Revolution is firmly in line with its permanent presence on the African continent since 1985, and is consistent with its core business, namely providing knowledge-based solutions and improving agricultural productivity. The Africa program is in congruence with Yara's global corporate citizen approach, facilitating a platform of shared value creation.

With the Oslo conferences, Yara established a focus on and venue for privatepublic partnerships in support of the African Green Revolution, bringing together key stakeholders from the public and private sector as well as representatives from civil society, notably academia and NGOs.

  • [1] The NEPAD was created as a framework for political and economic cooperation by the Organization of African Unity and the G8 countries in 2001.
  • [2] Formally, the Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.
  • [3] The CAADP contains five pillars, areas of priority: expansion of land; improvement of rural infrastructures; the enhancement of food supplies; the development of agricultural research; the sustainable development of livestock.
  • [4] Africa's Green Revolution: A Call to Action was a high-level seminar convened by Ethiopia and the UN Millennium Project in Addis Ababa, July 2004.
  • [5] Yara International ASA is a leading global chemical company that supplies mineral fertilizers and converts energy and nitrogen from the air into essential products for industrial customers.
  • [6] By 2010–11, Yara had initiated or joined three such partnerships; the Ghana Grains Partnership, the Malawi Agricultural Partnership, and the Tanzania Agricultural Partnership.
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