Africa's agri-productivity growth only 2% for 2019: Report

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Africa’s agricultural productivity ­— a key metric of its development plan — increased a dismal 2 per cent in 2019, according to the progress report of ‘Agenda 2063’, a blueprint on how the continent should develop in half a century.

The February 2020 stock-taking report blamed low levels of mechanisation in African agriculture, weak value chains and heavy reliance on unpredictable rainfall as the reasons behind Africa’s failure to modernise agriculture. More than 60 per cent of the the continent's working population is employed in the agricultural sector.

African countries also lag behind in food security and sustainable agriculture, according to another report on the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals released in June 2019.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an international financial institution, advocated for investments in agricultural research and development and in market access to farm inputs to increase productivity.

An African Development Bank report had also warned about the rising unemployment among youth in the region.

The six-year progress report also highlights less than half of development measures were made on several other indicators. On the indicator for “good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and rule of law”, the report shows Africa achieved a weak 16 per cent score.

Similarly, only 29 per cent of progress was achieved on “inclusive growth and sustainable development” for 2019.

The aggregate score for the entire continent for 2019 was 32 per cent — well under the half way mark — with less than four years left to achieve the plan’s first-decade targets.

East Africa performed the best in five of seven development goals in Agenda 2063, achieving 40 per cent; west Africa and north Africa scored 34 per cent each while the southern and central regions clocked 25 per cent each.

Scores up to 45 per cent denote poor performance.

Progress was slow in three of the seven development goals:

A 10-year implementation plan was drawn out to achieve development targets from 2014 to 2023 under Agenda 2063’s framework and subsequently endorsed at the June 2015 summit of the African Union.

“We have to own the Agenda for its effective implementation. In this perspective, we need to focus on sharing experiences to accelerate the strategic mobilization of internal resources of Agenda 2063 and its flagship projects,” Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said while launching the report during the 33rd Ordinary Summit of the African Union.

The report was jointly published by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency - New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD). It evaluated 31 African Union member nations and six Regional Economic Communities towards achieving Africa’s blueprint and master plan for sustainable development and economic growth.

The report serves as a rallying point for all stakeholders, including national and sub-national governments, regional bodies, civil society, academia and development partners to collectively accelerate implementation of Africa’s development blueprint.

The convergence of goals between the Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals marks a key milestone to measure progress and assess performance on both the continental and global development agenda.