About 80% of all Africans depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. Agriculture provides 70% of Africa's full time employment, one third of total GDP, and 40% of total export earnings. Thus, Africa's overall economic performance is inextricably linked to the performance of its agricultural sector. Agriculture is therefore crucial for reducing hunger and poverty across the continent and agricultural growth is achievable through the increase of agricultural productivity. Agricultural growth and crop productivity largely depend on bee pollination services that have ecological and agricultural values. The economic ecologic value of pollination is estimated at US$ 120 billion annually while the economic agricultural value for pollination is estimated at US$ 200 billion in global agriculture.
The need to increase agricultural productivity is reflected in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the African Union's New Partnerships for Africa's Development (AU-NEPAD), which aims to achieve an annual growth in production of 6% by 2015.
The African Union's Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is leading the NEPAD-CAADP programme for the livestock sector. AU-IBAR has developed a strategic plan for the period 2015–2017 that will allow the realization of the animal resources sector goals.
The Bee project is consistent with CAADP's Pillar I (Sustainable Land Management), Pillar III (increasing food supply, reducing hunger, and improving responses to food emergency crises) and Pillar IV (agricultural research and technology development and dissemination).
The Bee project is aligned to the European Consensus on Development which articulates the EU development policy and focuses on the attainment of the MDGs, highlighting food security as an integral thrust in rural and agricultural development that also assures sustainable management of natural resources.
The project is in line with the EU Food Security Thematic Program (FSTP) for 2011–2013. The FSTP recognizes the importance of investing in international public goods, in particular in pro-poor, demand-driven research and technological innovation as well as capacity development and South–South and South–North scientific and technical cooperation, as a way to address food security challenges in developing countries.
The project is consistent with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) efforts to strengthen veterinary governance and improved notification of animal diseases, including those affecting bees.