The African Union - European Union Agriculture Ministers Conference
2 July 2017, Rome, Italy
2017 is a defining year for strengthening the partnership between Europe and Africa. The 5th Africa-EU Summit in November 2017 is a key opportunity to give a new impetus to this partnership. Profound economic and societal transformational changes are taking place in Africa. The demographic growth is extraordinary: according to United Nations projections, Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050, from 1.2 billion people to 2.4 billion of predominantly young people. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the continent needs to create 18 million new jobs each year up to 2035, to absorb new labour market entrants, compared to the 3 million jobs per year currently created in the formal economy.
Challenges such as poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition could very well be exacerbated by this population growth. Nevertheless, over the past two decades, Africa demonstrated impressive economic progress and positive transformations, providing new and unique opportunities, such as growing and increasingly integrated markets, a dynamic SMEs sector, natural resources and fertile soil. It is in within the context of improving rural livelihoods for Africa’s young populations that the AU Malabo Declaration, in its commitment to halving poverty on the continent by 2015, resolved to ensure inclusive Agricultural Growth and Transformation on the continent and to this end, recommitted to create job opportunities for at least 30% of the youth in agricultural value chains.
The EU is also at the crossroads: discussing its own future direction but also the future of its relations with the Countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific after the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. The EU is Africa's closest neighbour, first foreign investor, first trading partner – offering free access to the EU market via Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), Free Trade Agreements and the “Everything but Arms initiative”, first partner in development and principal source of remittances. On the other hand, the African governments are progressively negotiating the Continental Free Trade Area aimed at boosting intra-Africa trade. Moreover, Africa’s demographic trends and the increasing mobility and migration add a new dimension to the need for a common agenda to promote sustainable economic development in Africa, in order to create the jobs that the continent needs and to make the most of the opportunities it offers.
Responsible investments in rural areas and the agricultural economy, value chains and integrated markets, accompanied by a better focus on research and innovation and the sustainable management of natural resources, with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and digitalisation as important enablers, have a key role in fostering economic growth, job creation and development in African countries. Agriculture plays a substantial role in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in any sustainable future as it is intrinsically linked to issues such as jobs, food, air, climate change, water, soil and biodiversity. The vision for agriculture-led economic growth and prosperity is consistent with the AU’s Agenda 2063’s first Aspiration of “A prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development” as read in conjunction with the sixth Aspiration – “An Africa whose development is people driven, relying on the potential offered by its people, especially its women and youth and caring for children”. To this end, the proposed theme of the November AU-EU 5th Summit is befitting and paramount. Young people and women combine as a big segment of the demographic pie in Africa and empowering the youth and women with ‘agropreneurial’ skills and capital must be among this decade’s three-top most priorities.
Technical Item 1
|Item||Comment / Africa Position|
|Technical Item I :|
Global action to alleviate the threat of antimicrobial resistance: progress and opportunities for future activities under the "One Health" initiative
(Rapporteur : Mme. Khadija Id Sidi Yahia)
|Africa sincerely congratulates the rapporteur for the excellent way in which he has conducted, evaluated and conveyed the results of the survey amongst OIE Member Countries. Africa is especially encouraged by the data reflecting the awareness and commitment amongst the majority of the 54 African Countries Members of OIE. We fully support the recommendations of the rapporteur especially as it relates to encouraging inter sectorial cooperation; continuation of regional workshops and the implementation of OIE standards as it relates to the use of antimicrobials and preventing the development of antimicrobial resistance in the animal sector. Although still difficult to fully implement in several African countries, Africa supports the recommendation that countries should be encouraged to change national legislation to require a veterinary prescription before delivery of antibiotics.|
|Technical Item II:|
Public-Private Partnerships: expectations of private sector partners for international animal health and livestock development programmes
Africa congratulates the rapporteur and co-workers for this excellent presentation. Africa fully supports the plea of the rapporteurs that Member Countries should make a concerted effort to create an enabling environment for the successful establishment and outcome of public-private partnerships especially as it relates to facilitate such partnerships with enabling legislation, good veterinary governance and the accountability of the veterinary service in such relationships.
Under the auspices of the Reinforcing Veterinary Governance in Africa (Vet-Gov) project and the Standards and Trade Secretariat (STS), AU-IBAR convened the ninth meeting for OIE delegates, from 3rd to 5th May 2015 in Nairobi to examine the proposed changes in the OIE Terrestrial and Aquatic Codes submitted for adoption during the General Session of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates which will take place in Paris, France from 21st to 26th May 2017.
In attendance were fifty two (52) Delegates from Africa Union Member States. Representative of FAO (ECTAD Nairobi), OIE sub-regional office for East Africa) and EU also participated in the meeting.
The meeting was officially opened by the Director of AU-IBAR Prof Ahmed El-Sawalhy on behalf of Her Excellency Madam Sacko Josefa Leonel Correa, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture. Prof. El-Sawalhy congratulated and welcomed the OIE Delegates of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Uganda who were recently appointed and were attending this Pan-African CVOs meeting for the first time in that capacity. Prof El-Sawalhy noted that the impact of the participation of Africa in the General Sessions of OIE had increased tremendously and that the African block now plays a major role in the discussions taking place in the OIE. He stressed the need to sustain the momentum and keep working at improving participation in OIE standard-setting process. He acknowledged the importance of OIE standards in public health protection and market access. He therefore encouraged Member States to domesticate these standards in their national veterinary legislations and policies.
The trade in livestock and livestock products plays a key role in Somalia’s economic and social development. Its contribution to employment creation, the gross domestic product and export earnings is known. At a household level, the livestock holdings contribute to household resilience and better livelihood by increasing the percentage of their incomes derived from diverse livestock and livestock products and being used to adapt to shocks. It is critical that more Somali livestock traders are educated on the central role they play in livestock certification for export and the adherence to quarantine standard operating procedures. In particular, the owners of the seven livestock export quarantines must cede ground to the public sector and allow them access and control of the livestock inspection, export certification and laboratory testing within the quarantines.
The promotion of trade is one of the facilities that stimulate the export markets. It is one of the opportunities overlooked with the role of government being marginal and that of the private sector over emphasised. However, with increasing trade facilitation adherence to Sanitary and Phytosanitary standards requires attention in order to stimulate growth of exports. Many of the key importing countries are converting the Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary Agreement (SPS) into Technical Barriers in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination and thus restrictive to trade. There is need for the Somali trade regulators to ensure that traders maintain all the measures prescribed by the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) so as to avoid trade restrictions. The existing international agreements recognize that "no country should be prevented from taking measures necessary to ensure the quality of its imports, or for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health, of the environment, or for the prevention of deceptive practices."
With the technical and financial backstopping from AU-IBAR and within the framework of the VET-GOV programme, COMESA held a livestock forum in Port Louis, Mauritius on the 11-12th April 2017.
During the Forum, it was agreed to establish the Regional Livestock Policy Hub (RLPH) to provide effective and efficient animal health, production and trade services within the COMESA region.
The Forum was attended by participants from AU-IBAR, COMESA Secretariat, OIE, FAO, USAID, Tufts University and Regional Economic Communities(COMESA, EAC and IGAD) in addition to representatives from Comoros, Kenya, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malawi, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and participants from the Regional Farmers Organizations (EAFF, SACAU).
The forum was officially opened by H.E. Mr. Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, the Minister of Agro-Industry, Mauritius following remarks from Dr Mphumuzi Sukati, Senior Policy Officer, Economics, trade and Marketing on behalf of Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy, the Director AU-IBAR and Mr. Thierry Mutombo Kalonji, Director of Industry and Agriculture, on behalf of COMESA Secretariat.
- AU-IBAR and Partners Convene 2nd RAHS Project Steering Committee Meeting
- AU-IBAR Spearheads the Development of Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa
- The 8th VET-GOV Programme Steering Committee and the 6th Steering Committee of the Consolidation phase of PAN-SPSO
- African Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Tool (AMERT) Training