Agriculture a priority at AU Summit

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“Africa cannot be content to continue with the current dependence on the economies of the developed world. Africa is sailing upstream against a dependency that prevents them from moving toward sustainable development,” Mbasogo said in a statement during the closing session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union (AU).

“[We] should rethink [our] relationship with the developed world to reduce as far as possible the gap that prevents access to development.”

The Assembly of Heads of State, which was held on 26 and 27 June, was a part of the 23rd African Union Summit, which ran from 20 to 27 June in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea this year. Among the delegates were Somalia’s prime minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma.

Mbasogo added that the key to enhancing food security as well as reducing hunger levels in the country lay in more local production of consumer goods via the agricultural sector.

(READ MORE: Africa needs to invest in its agriculture)

“The development of agriculture can greatly reduce this dependence. “Africa can ensure food security and significantly reduce hunger in our countries. Africa should heavily invest in agricultural development to transform itself in order to accelerate growth to increase production and productivity,” he said.

According to the World Bank, agriculture employs roughly 65 per cent of Africa’s labour force, but challenges such as land degradation, which results in a decrease in arable land area, lessens the land available for crop cultivation. Various countries in the continent are nonetheless taking action to capitalise on and invest in agriculture.

(READ MORE: Investment essential to boost agricultural growth)

“As part of our diversification plan, Equatorial Guinea currently focuses on [agricultural] production to achieve these goals. It is imperative to ensure the security and stability of our states, since agriculture is the most vulnerable sector in times of instability, war and terrorism,” Mbasogo added.

“It’s no coincidence that this session focuses on the issue of agriculture and food security in Africa. We cannot talk about the development of Africa if there is no agricultural development to ensure food security and avoid lifelong dependence on imports of consumer products.”