NOVEMBER 21- 24, 2017 – KIGALI, RWANDA – The African Union Commission Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (AUC-DREA), NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) organized a joint planning meeting in Kigali to take stock of progress made on delivery of the Malabo Declaration, and to agree on key milestones for 2018. Joint planning meetings are convened every two years as part of the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). Since the meetings are not held regularly, there are challenges for the lead institutions to build consensus on joint actions, and to define specific roles and responsibilities in supporting and advancing CAADP and the Malabo Declaration at national, regional, and continental levels. The meeting in Kigali was jointly supported by GIZ and USAID through Africa Lead.
The meeting was attended by representatives from AUC-DREA, NPCA, RECs (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), The Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and East African Community (EAC)). Also in attendance were non-state actors (NSAs), technical and development partners. The meeting rekindled the role of RECs and started the process of reinvigorating their participation in the domestication of the Malabo Declaration. The meeting was officially opened by the Mr. Charles Murekesi, Director General, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Rwanda.
Participants toured the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Africa Improved Foods company to see the practical role of policy in enabling private sector growth through the promotion of investments and business activities. Participants also reviewed the five-year African Union Malabo Business Plan (2017-2021) and agreed that it presents a consolidated road map with priority program areas for catalyzing strategic results at the continental, regional and especially country levels. RECs agreed to use their convening mandate to create a learning process that will influence positive change towards implementing Malabo commitments via the business plan. The meeting also consolidated lessons from the Biennial Review exercise, and other 2017 Malabo Declaration domestication processes.
A major lesson from the sessions was that achieving Malabo commitments requires investments in priority areas, policies to support investments, and institutions committed to support implementation. Additionally, another lesson was that regional issues are based on national issues; therefore there is a need to solidify the relationships between the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) and Regional Agriculture Investment Plans (RAIPs).
The RECs committed to improving the coordination and implementation of Malabo Declaration. Various thematic issues (including Natural Resource Governance and Climate Change, Trade, Agribusiness and Value chains development) were also discussed to ensure integration and seamless implementation. Specific tools and instruments for implementation support include the Country Agribusiness Partnership Framework (CAP-F) and Technical Networks.
At the end of the meeting, a 2018 Action Plan was developed with a focus on involving RECs more in planning and delivery, the increased involvement of country level partners, and initiating the CAP-F process. Some important milestones in the action plan include: continental joint planning to be convened by AUC-DREA and NPCA, initial clinic and planning meeting, specific country convening, country backstopping and follow up, independent technical review and business meetings. Each of the technical and development partners present made a commitment to continue providing support in the implementation of the BR and NAIP processes.