- Saturday, 20 February 2016
Africa stands out as the most vulnerable continent to climate change, primarily because climate change threatens productivity in its key economic sectors, exacerbating the food insecurity, poverty, unemployment and environmental degradation challenges in Africa, yet its adaptive capacity weak. Climate adaptation is an urgent imperative. 2015 is potentially a pivotal year for Africa’s fight against climate change. Africa adopted the Agenda 2030 on sustainable development, the COP21 the Paris climate deal and the AMCEN Cairo declaration. In 2014, the AU member countries unanimously adopted the AU Agenda 2063. Cumulatively, these 4 high level policy ideals provide basis for an Africa free from hunger & malnutrition, poverty, climate impacts, environmental degradation and creating wealth and employment and income opportunities for its youth by leveraging opportunities in climate change.
Though attractive, achieving these ideals is not predestined. It requires partnerships between solutions providers, to blend the strengths of governments, the private sector, non-profits and other actors, as implied in goal 17 of the SDGs to ensure their effective domestication and implementation. EBAFOSA provides an opportunity for Africa, within these high level frameworks, to formulate policies and prioritize investments that leverage climate change as an opportunity to achieve sustainable inclusive growth. The opportunity is in an optimized agro-sector. This by focusing on optimizing the entire agro-value chain. From on-farm production using cost effective, EBA techniques that build climate resilience, enhance ecosystems which are the best adaptation strategy and increase yields by up to 128% of more nutritious food at minimal environmental costs relative to conventional approaches. Then extending to the post-farm gate value chain by linking EBA production to supply & demand side commercial value chains in a continuum, to potentially create as many as 17 million jobs for the youth.
Based on the foregoing, and positioning EBAFOSA as a timely intervention and also considering youth involvement, the following cross-cutting issues can be debated;
- How does the EBAFOSA platform present a gateway for Africa to achieve the SDGs and Post COP21 outcomes?
- Can EBAFOSA help connect individuals’ innovation in the agro value chain across Africa hence achieve scalable solutions and commercialization?
- Growth in agriculture can reduce poverty 2 to 4 times more than any other sector because it stimulates growth in other sectors. Which are the lucrative sectors involved with the agro-value chain that the EBAFOSA platform should include?
- What is the role of youth in advocating for policies (e.g. better access to factors of production - land, finances / capital, prioritize government investment in rural transport and energy infrastructure etc.) that incentivize investments in agro-value chains for food security & climate adaptation?
- How can youth use available channels e.g. twitter, national debate forums to better make their voice heard on the need for prioritized investment in the above?
- The importance of markets (goods, services & labor markets) to optimizing agro-value chains and industry growth in Africa cannot be underestimated. Currently, Africa intra-trade is the lowest and Africa is losing up to US$ 20 billion extra earnings from agro-sector due to a fragmented regional market. Africa also has the most visa requirements of any region and this further constricts trade in all its forms -goods & services and labor markets. This is a big opportunity if African markets can be consolidated. What policies in trade, aviation sector, visa etc. will be needed to unleash this potential?
- Rural agro-industry should target the agro-produce value addition. What policy areas should EBAFOSA target in collaboration with African governments to ensure this nascent area is maximized for jobs & revenue?
- What is needed to ensure African industries and private sector develop competitive advantage to compete adequately in liberalized markets?