Year of agriculture and food security launched at AU summit

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Newly Elected Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who is also the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, today launched 2014 as the year of agriculture and food security, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).

The AU Chairperson noted that the year of agriculture and food security comes at the time when the AU is discussing the African agenda 2063 strategic frame work for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

“For most countries agriculture constitutes indeed the battle against poverty and hunger for which we can win with economic sustainability of agriculture investment”, he said. He added that this year it is a very important to focus on the transformation of agriculture for the prosperity of all and improvement of growth and sustainable development.

True to its name, the African Year of Agriculture and Food Security will be commemorated across Africa, in member states, Regional Economic Communities, continental organisations, and at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It will be a year that gives opportunities to communities, state and non-state actors in Africa to interact, express their voices on what works and chart the focus and targets for the next decade. The process will facilitate for this voices to contribute towards setting the agenda for sustaining the CAADP momentum which forms the basis for African leaders to recommit themselves towards realizing the vision set out in 2003.

It is significant to note that to date 34 AU Member States have signed CAADP compacts; 30 among them have developed formal national agriculture and food security investment plans – and these have become their medium term expenditure frameworks for agriculture, thus resulting in improved agricultural planning. At regional level, four (4) out of eight RECs have also signed Regional compacts out of which three have developed fully costed investment plans. On average public agricultural expenditures have risen by over 7 per cent per year across Africa since 2003, nearly doubling public agricultural expenditures since the launch of CAADP.

In terms of performance, annual agricultural GDP growth has averaged nearly 4% since 2003 – well above the agricultural GDP growth rates for the previous several decades. Several member states have also achieved significant improvements in tackling the challenges of hunger, undernourishment and extreme poverty. It is important to note that in most African countries, it is the improvement of agricultural performance that can contribute towards the achievement of pro-poor growth.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

OUTGOING CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION OUTLINES ACHIEVEMENTS AND WISHES HIS SUCCESSOR WELL

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia officially opened the 22ndOrdinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 30. He did this in his capacity as outgoing Chairperson of the Union before handing over to the new Chairperson, Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz,the President of Mauritania.

Prime Minister Dessalegn announced the theme of this year’s Assembly meeting as “Agriculture and Food Security: marking the 10th anniversary of CAADP, the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, which is the Union’s flagship project that aims at achieving agricultural transformation in Africa. In reviewing the progress made through the program over the past decade, he pointed out that more member countries are now allocating the agreed 10 percent of their national budgets to the agricultural sector, thus contributing to the transformation of agriculture on the continent.

Summing up his one-year tenure as the Chairperson of the Union, Prime Minister Dessalegn noted that a lot of ground was covered over the past year in implementing priorities to move the continental agenda forward. Among these priorities were the recognition of the historic 50 year milestone of the OAU/AU through the Golden Jubilee celebrations, the adoption of ‘Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance’ as the overarching theme in planning the post 2015 African development agenda and putting in place Agenda 2063, the blueprint for the next 50 years of the continent’s development. Highlighting the importance of adopting an African common position in international development cooperation talks, Prime Minister Dessalegn expressed appreciation for the chairmanship of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and her working committee in finalizing the common African position on development priorities for consideration and adoption by the Assembly.

Prime Minister Dessalegn pointed out the role that the legislative and presidential elections of last year played in helping member states come out of political crisis in countries such as Madagascar and Guinea Bissau, and the consolidation of democratic governance in countries such as Mali. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia reported that the issue of peace and security was the major preoccupation of the Union during the past year. He expressed his deep concern for the serious potential threat that the conflict in Sudan and Central African Republic poses for the collective peace and security of the region and called for continued support for the peaceful resolution of conflicts from the regional and international communities.

Reporting on the work of the Commission, Prime Minister Dessalegn welcomed the adoption of the strategic plan for the years 2014-2017 and the tripartite consultative process between the UNECA, ADB and the Commission in elaborating the framework for Agenda 2063. The Prime Minister, in closing, congratulated his successor, Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for assuming Chairmanship of the African Union for the working year 2014 and pledged his support.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

New Chairperson and members of the bureau elected at AU Assembly meeting

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — This morning marked the official opening of the 22ndOrdinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union.

The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced the results of the electionto the Assembly.

The new Chairperson of the African Union is Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.He replaces former Chairperson Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Zimbabwe was elected as first Vice President, the second Vice Presidency went to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the third Vice President is Nigeria. Ethiopia was designated as Rapporteur.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

EMAIL FROM THE FUTURE, ELECTION OF NEW CHAIRPERSON AND AWARDS TO PROMINENT AFRICANS MARK OPENING SESSION OF AFRICAN UNION ASSEMBLY MEETING

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An “email from the future” delivered by African Union Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has served to encourage Africa to continue its fifty year development agenda (Agenda 2063), with the confidence that it is possible for the continent to achieve prosperity, integration and peace within that time, or less.

Delivered during the opening of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, the email is written to a hypothetical “Kwame Nkrom” by “Nkosazana”.

Speaking from the year 2063, after the full implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063, the email lauds the progress achieved in initiatives that are, at present, being pursued by Africa. These include programmes on achieving an integrated Africa, developing industry and manufacturing, advanced use of information and communication technologies, mastery over the oceans and their wealth, beneficiation of minerals and natural resources, intra African trade, and sufficient infrastructure. In her message to “Kwame”, “Nkosazana” talks about an Africa that has turned itself from an importer of food to a major exporter.

“My friend, Africa has indeed transformed herself from an exporter of raw materials with a declining manufacturing sector in 2013, to become a major food exporter, a global manufacturing hub, a knowledge centre,” the email reads.

The Africa of 2063, according to the email, isno longer a dark continent but rather one which is lit up using hydro, solar, wind, and geo-thermal energy, in addition to fossil fuels. It isan Africa at peace with itself after having tackled the root causes of conflict. The email compliments the continent’s commitment to invest in its people, especially in the empowerment of young people and women, as being key issues that made peace happen. It mentions the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the formation of Organisation of African Unity held in May 2013 as having been the start of a major paradigm shift: a point where Africa took charge of its own narrative.

After reading her “email from the future”, the Chairperson sent a word of encouragement to all of Africa, that the contents of the email can be a reality. “It is impossible until it is done,” she concluded.

In the meantime, Dr Dlamini-Zuma announced the appointment of Mrs Binta Diop as Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, “to ensure that the voices of women and the vulnerable are heard much more clearly in peace-building and in conflict resolution”.

The opening session of the Assembly was also addressed by the Under Secretary General of the United Nations, who spoke about how the African Union and the United Nations can work together to address pressing crises and to build on Africa’s progress, announcing that “The United Nations is your unwavering partner” in the quest for advancement and growth.

The meeting, which elected President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania as the Chairperson of the African Union for the coming one year and Zimbabwe as the first Vice Chairperson, also heard from the newly elected President of the Republic of Madagascar Mr Rajonarimamnianina Rakotoarimanana who paid tribute to his country men and women for making the choice for the restoration of constitutional order and going to the ballot box to elect their leaders. He proclaimed a new dawn for development, peace and security in his country but also added the urgent need for vital assistance for the country to realize its full potential.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa took the floor to express his country’s appreciation for Africa’s support during the death and burial of its former President Mr Nelson Mandela last year. He paid homage to other African countries for having supported and harboured not just the leadership of the struggle against apartheid, but also many other South African liberation fighters and activists.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti, Mr. Laurent Salvador Lamothe took to the stage to deliver the message of Haitian solidarity with Africa on behalf of the country’s President, Mr. Michel Joseph Martelly.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr HaileMariam Desalegn gave his final address as Chairperson of the African Union before handing over to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. A press release on the Prime Minister’s statement as well as the statement itself is available at www.au.int

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Prime Minister Abe’s Visit to Ethiopia (Outline and Outcomes)

TOKYO, Japan, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. Outline and Outcomes

(1) Prime Minister Abe selected Ethiopia as his last stop of his tour of Africa because it is the country Japan holds the longest bilateral relation in Africa, the Chair of the African Union (AU) and he wished to send a message to the African countries from Addis Ababa, the capital of African diplomacy, where the AU headquarters is located. At the AU headquarters, Prime Minister Abe delivered a policy speech titled Japan’s Diplomacy towards Africa: Strengthening Each Individual, One by One. He made an appeal for Africa to choose Japan as its true partner, explaining that what is necessary for Africa is Japanese assistance and the organizational culture of Japanese companies which value human resources and place importance on creative ingenuity through the bottom-up approach. By doing so, Prime Minister Abe succeeded in promoting the presence of Japan in Africa, emphasizing Japan’s unique attributes.

(2) In terms of the bilateral relationship, in the summit meeting, Prime Minister Hailemariam expressed his appreciation for the Kaizen project, which Japan has been promoting in Ethiopia, Japan’s human resources development support, such as the African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative), implementation of the Industrial Policy Dialogue toward Ethiopia’s economic structural reform, and assistance in the areas of infrastructure and agriculture. He also expressed his expectations for further investment by Japanese private companies. Both leaders took this opportunity to sign on the Exchange of Notes amending the bilateral Air Service Agreement, which enables direct flights of Ethiopian Airlines to Narita International Airport.

(3) In particular, with regards to the situation of South Sudan, considering Japan’s serious concerns over the situation there, Prime Minister Abe conducted diplomacy vis-à-vis Ethiopia which plays a central role in peacemaking mediation as a neighboring country and hosts negotiations between the parties in Addis Ababa. Prime Minister Abe expressed his support for mediation efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD; Chair: Ethiopia) and both leaders confirmed that they would seek an early suspension of hostilities between the parties and national reconciliation in the future.

(4) In addition, in the expanded summit meeting, Prime Minister Abe emphasized the interests the Japanese private sector has in Ethiopia, through the accompanying delegations from 15 private companies, universities, and so forth, and held discussions toward promotion of investments in both countries. Both leaders shared the view that Japan is going to promote a closer business relationship with Ethiopia, a country with which Japan has enjoyed more than eight decades of diplomatic relationship, the longest among the African countries.

2. Outline of Events

January 13

(1) Meeting with Mr. Abebe’s Son and Other Athletes

 Prime Minister Abe met the son of Mr. Abebe Bikila (late gold medalist in the men’s marathon in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics) and other athletes associated with Japan (Ms. Tiki Gelana, Mr. Yacob Jarso). After admiring the collection related to Mr. Abebe and photos relevant to the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, Prime Minister Abe handed over running shoes to promising boys and girls belonging to the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.

(2) Japan-Ethiopia Summit Meeting, Signing Ceremony of the Exchange of Notes on the Amendment of the Annex to the Air Service Agreement between Japan and Ethiopia, and Joint Press Conference

 Prime Minister Abe held a Japan-Ethiopia summit meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam. Following this meeting, the both leaders held an expanded summit meeting inviting top leaders of Japanese companies and organizations, and private-sector personnel of the both countries made remarks on the efforts for further reinforcement of the economic relationship between the both countries, including investments. Following the summit meetings, and after having attended the signing ceremony of the Exchange of Notes on the amendment of the Annex of the bilateral Air Service Agreement, Prime Minister Abe held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Hailemariam.

Joint Communiqué: “Joint Communiqué between Japan and Ethiopia on the Occasion of the State Visit of Prime Minister Abe to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia” (Summary of the outcomes of the summit meeting) (Outline (Japanese)(PDF), Text (Japanese(PDF), English(PDF)))

(3) Official Dinner Hosted by Prime Minister Hailemariam

 Following the above events, Mr. and Mrs. Abe attended the official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Hailemariam.

January 14

(1) Courtesy Call on President Mulatu and Visit to the Japanese Garden in the Presidential Palace

 Prime Minister Abe made a courtesy call on President Mulatu Teshome at the presidential palace. Prime Minister Abe reiterated his congratulations on the assumption of the presidency of President Mulatu (October 2013), who has experience of having served as an Ethiopian Ambassador to Japan. In response, President Mulatu expressed his gratitude to Japan’s past cooperation in the development of Ethiopia.

 Following this courtesy call, Prime Minister Abe visited the Japanese garden in the palace with the President.

(2) Policy Speech by Prime Minister Abe (Text attached)

 Prime Minister Abe made a policy speech on Africa titled Japan’s Diplomacy towards Africa: ‘Strengthening Each Individual, One by One’ at the headquarters of the African Union (AU).

 Citing specific examples of the Kaizen project and others, in response to the question of what unique contributions Japan can make for the further development and growth of Africa, Prime Minister Abe emphasized that Japanese companies, which consider human resources as the most valuable resource and value the creativity and ingenuity of each individual, will bring this philosophy along with their investments and will contribute to human resource development in Africa. He stressed that strengthening of the relationship with Japan and Japanese companies would lead to sustainable growth in Africa.

 On that basis, Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan’s diplomacy towards Africa will focus on the empowerment of young people and women, and that Japan will provide maximum support to realize “an Africa where young people and women shine”.

 In addition, Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan is committed to doubling the amount of EPSA loans, which are co-financed by Japan and the African Development Bank (for five years from 2012), and is prepared to implement assistance of approximately 320 million US dollars in order to respond to conflicts and disasters in Africa, such as those in South Sudan and Central African Republic.

Text of the Speech (Japanese(PDF), English(PDF), French(PDF))

(3) Courtesy Call by Dr. Zuma, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union

 Following the policy speech on Africa, Prime Minister Abe received a courtesy call by Dr. Zuma, the chairperson of the Commission of the African Union in the AU headquarters. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will implement cooperation to promote the use of the abilities of women and young people as mentioned in his policy speech, and that Japan is preparing new assistance of 5 million dollars for the AU, including assistance for South Sudan and Central African Republic.

 In response, following his remarks to welcome Prime Minister Abe’s visit, Dr. Zuma expressed her gratitude for various support from Japan, including the above assistance, and stated that she would like to continue to cooperate with Japan in the areas of human resource development and agriculture.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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