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US focuses on Africa for food sustainability

By Hillary Munedzi

The United States of America is focusing on Africa as the continent holds 60% of the worldโ€™s unused arable land as it reaffirms the commitment of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), and the Malabo Declaration and its call to Action at the recently held US-Africa Leaders Summit.

The Malabo Declaration was adopted in 2014 by the African Union (AU) member states. This Declaration provides direction to transform the agricultural sector in Africa for the period 2015-2025 within the wider framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). It is an essential document that assists AU member states to achieve agriculture-led growth and end poverty and hunger.

The Summit urged the private sector to be part of the agricultural revolution in Africa and spur economic growth with 60% of Africaโ€™s population under the age of 25.

โ€œTo meet these goals, this US-Africa strategic partnership will address both short-term and longer-term priorities. The United States is committed to leveraging its unique convening power to bring together the private sector and international financial institutions to address underinvestment and to identify and remove obstacles that impede Africaโ€™s full participation in global food and fertilizer supply chains and markets. In turn, the African Union will politically commit that participating AU members will address and remove obstacles that impede agriculture-centered investments,โ€ reads the joint statement of the US-Africa Leaders Summit held in Washington DC.

Zimbabweโ€™s agricultural sector is responsible for feeding the nation and providing livelihoods to 67% of the countryโ€™s population in rural areas. Zimbabwe aims to improve crop and livestock productivity and raise the gross agriculture production value to US$8.2 billion which will help Zimbabwe to achieve self-sufficiency for local human and industrial consumption in all strategic agriculture commodities and generate a surplus for exports; treble agriculture trade through improved market access and competitiveness of agriculture commodities on the domestic and export markets through quality produce and value addition and to raise per capita income for farmers to the upper-middle-income level from US$4 000 โ€“US$12 000.

โ€œThis strategic framework will reference and build on existing bilateral, regional, multilateral, non-governmental, and philanthropic efforts to advance food security and will leverage the public and private sectors to address immediate and acute food and fertilizer needs in the short-termโ€“ including by addressing food supplies that have been disrupted โ€“ and promote transformational investments in medium to long- term sustainable and resilient food systems.

โ€œWe seek to make concrete progress on the short-term goals and to develop a plan of action for the longer-term goals by the African Unionโ€™s Summit in February 2023,โ€ read the joint statement.

Zimbabwe attended the summit in Washington for the first time, represented by Ambassador Fredrick Shava, the Foreign Affairs Minister.

African leaders have pressed the US government to drop the illegal sanctions targeted against Zimbabwe, with African nations arguing the penalties are causing economic damage with the ordinary Zimbabweans bearing the brunt.

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