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Monday, 08 August 2011 08:58

Dr Mayaki: "Engaging African Youth in agriculture so it won't become a phenomenal bomb"

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A few days before the meeting of Agriculture Ministers of the G20 countries, ONE * has organized a meeting between some journalists and Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Executive Secretary of the Agency of NEPAD and former Prime Minister of Niger, which analyzes here, the future of the continent. Excerpts follow.


  • Keep the youth busy : Two-thirds of African people derive their income from agriculture; Africans spend 50 to 80% of their income on food. Both figures, well known, illustrate the importance of agriculture for the continent. Despite this, aid dedicated to agriculture dropped from 18% to 4% over the last twenty years. Today a third aspect reinforces the need to invest in agriculture: it is the only sector in Africa that can absorb, at least partly, millions of young people who flock every year on the labor market, Africa is the youngest continent in the world. If we can not give a future to these young people, we will face a "phenomenal bomb",  like the Arab revolution, warns Dr. Mayaki.
  • What the G20 should do: The G20 must act to ensure that Africa would no longer suffer  the consequences of an "imported" volatility food price, volatility which is not related to weather or natural disaster, but is the direct result of excessive speculation in financial markets. And instead of inventing new parallel mechanisms, the G20 should support the measures already taken in Africa, such as networking of national emergency stocks. NEPAD's agricultural program, the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is already working on it.
  • The limits of the G20: Since the last food crisis in 2008 and the hunger riots in several countries, some emergency measures were taken, but what is necessary are structural changes at the international level. The problem: the system of global governance is broken. The UN reform is not moving, the Doha Round on international trade seems dead, reforms of financial institutions like the IMF failed to make any progress, negotiations on climate change leave little room for optimism. And the G20 is not representative of Africa because no developing countries participate. South Africa can not represent the entire continent, especially the interests of the poorest countries.
  • Democracy is a precondition to development and food security: Amartya Sen, Nobel economist, has shown that famines do not occur in democracies. This is something that can also be observed in Africa. The democratization of many countries, even not perfect, allowed to better take into account the interests of the population, and therefore also of agriculture. Nowadays, more and more African countries are investing 10% or more of their budgets in agriculture. This will improve further in the coming decade, thanks to the inexorable generational succession politics.

About ONE: ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers.

For more information, visit : http://www.one.org/fr/infos/
Authorr: Friederike Röder

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:38


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