One of the things you will hear often when you travel throughout Africa and visit with government officials is the amount of money they have committed to lifesaving programs from HIV/AIDs national programs to malaria, maternal health, and agriculture programs. What is often hidden, however, is whether or not those governments actually come through with their financial commitments. Lip service only goes so far before those who are looking ask for hard numbers and transparency.
This week during the African Union Summit the ONE Campaign released the Ripe for Change: The Promise of Africa’s Agricultural Transformation report calling on African countries to commit to at least 10% of their national budgets on agriculture. According to ONE, only eight African countries have stood up to their commitment to spend 10% of their budgets on agriculture since 2003. Spending this amount is only reasonable given the more than two-third of Africans who make an annual living through small holder farming. Based on the report investing in agriculture is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty. ONE’s report is fitting giving the theme of this year’s summit: The Year of Agriculture and Food Security.
“Now is the time to get our leaders to commit to a big push toward implementing effective agricultural policies, scale up public investment in agriculture and catalyze private sector participation in agriculture development,” says ONE Africa Director Dr. Sipho Moyo. “Of the more than 400 million Africans living in extreme poverty, 70% live in rural areas that depend on agriculture. Remarkably, the multiplier effect of agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be 11 times greater in reducing poverty than in other non-agriculture sectors, such as utilities and mining.
Visit ONE’s map that shows the countries that have surpassed or met its 10% commitment and those who have not at www.one.org/doagric/public-spending-on-agriculture.
* Additionally, sign ONE’s petition to on their Do Agric campaign to urge 46 African countries to do right by their citizens and invest more in agriculture. www.one.org/doagric.