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AU launches Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard (AATS) – a revolutionary new tool to drive agricultural productivity and development

AU launches Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard (AATS) – a revolutionary new tool to drive agricultural productivity and development
Photo credit: Pablo Tosco | Oxfam International

30 Jan 2018

Five countries awarded for best performance in accelerating agricultural transformation

The African Union on Monday, 29 January 2018 launched the Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard (AATS) and presented the Inaugural Biennial Review Report on the implementation of the June 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.

H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopian Prime Minister and AU Leader of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), presented the AATS and Biennial Review Report to the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa.

The AATS, the first of its kind in Africa, captures the continent’s agricultural progress based on a pan-African data collection exercise led by the African Union Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), NEPAD Agency and Regional Economic Communities in collaboration with technical and development partners. Countries were assessed on the seven commitments in the Malabo declaration, across 43 indicators.

The AATS tracks progress in commitments made by AU Heads of State and Government through CAADP and the Malabo Declaration to increase prosperity and improve livelihoods by transforming agriculture. The indicators chosen to track the performance categories were defined on the basis of the strategic objectives derived from the Malabo Declaration.

The report reveals that only 20 of the 47 Member States that reported are on track towards achieving the commitments set out in the Malabo Declaration. Rwanda leads the top 10 best performers with a score of 6.1, followed by Mali (5.6), Morocco (5.5), Ethiopia (5.3), Togo (4.9), Malawi (4.9), Kenya (4.8), Mauritania (4.8), Burundi (4.7), and Uganda (4.5).

The report sets the 2017 benchmark at 3.94 out of 10 as the minimum score for a country to be considered on track towards achieving the Malabo commitments by 2025. Regionally, East Africa performed best with a score of 4.2, followed by Southern Africa with a score of 4.02.

Meanwhile, AUC Deputy Chairperson, H.E. Kwesi Quartey presented awards to the best performing countries in accelerating agricultural transformation on the continent. Best performance based on the overall score to achieve the Malabo Declaration goals and targets by 2025 was scooped by Rwanda, with Mali as runner up and Morocco, second runner up.

Based on the Theme of the 2017 Biennial Report “Highlight on Intra-African Trade of agriculture commodities and services: Risks and Opportunities,” the award was scooped by Lesotho with a score of 5.2, scoring the best on Malabo Commitment 5 on Intra-African Trade of Agricultural goods and services aggregating performance on (i) the value of goods and services traded with other AU Member States, (ii) the facilities to improve trade with other AU Member States and (iii) the stability of prices of food commodities for 2015.

Botswana won the award with a score of 8.7, for recording the best performance in Facilitating Intra-African Trade of Agricultural goods and services aggregating performance on (i) physical infrastructure, (ii) information and communication technologies, (iii) border administration, (iv) bilateral trade related agreement with other AU member states and (v) immigration facilitation.

In the Malabo Declaration, AU Member States committed to report, on a biennial basis, the progress in achieving the 7 commitments of the Declaration with the first report presented at the 30th AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

Preceding this “Inaugural Biennial Report on the Implementation of the June 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared prosperity and improved Livelihoods” was the meeting of the 2nd Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment that endorsed it in October 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 2017, the AUC conducted and facilitated 6 training sessions respectively in West (in French and English), East, Central, Southern and North Africa regions, with 156 national experts trained including CAADP Focal Persons, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialists and Statisticians from Ministries of Agriculture and other line ministries.

Fifty one (51) AU Member States participated in the training and familiarized themselves with the Malabo Declaration, targets and indicators, and the biennial review reporting format, which has further embedded the culture of mutual accountability in Africa.

AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E. Josefa Sacko, congratulated the countries for their efforts in implementing the Malabo Declaration Commitments and said the AATS would help in sharing lessons and best practices as well as aid countries on what priorities need critical attention.

Some of the key recommendations from the report are for African countries to increase investment and finance in agriculture; to improve access for men and women engaged in agriculture to financial and advisory services; and to improve data collection systems.


Implementation of the Malabo Declaration: The 2017 Progress Report to the AU Assembly

The African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) in 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique as the Flagship Programme of the African Union for agriculture and food security. The Maputo Declaration on CAADP sets broad targets of 6 percent annual growth in agricultural GDP, and allocation of at least 10 percent of public expenditures to the agricultural sector.

From 2003 to 2013, CAADP implementation demonstrated that Africa had well-crafted, home-grown framework guiding policies, strategies and actions for agricultural development and transformation. This was instrumental in raising the profile of agriculture to the centre of development agenda at national, regional and global levels. It also facilitated mobilisation and alignment of multi-stakeholders partnerships and investments around national agriculture and food security investment plans (NAIPs) that have been developed through the CAADP process. In 2013, after a decade of implementation, demand for more clarity was expressed by AU Member States and stakeholders in terms of further elaboration and refinement of the CAADP targets, and assessment of technical efficacies and political feasibilities for success in agricultural transformation. In addition, there was a need to move from planning to effective implementation for results and impact in changing people’s lives because most of the NAIPs were not fully implemented. This underperformance was due to various reasons such as inadequate funding, no appropriate institutions and policies, low leadership capacity, weak mutual accountability system and culture, among others.

This is why, AU Heads of State and Government adopted the Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation in June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The Malabo Declaration sets the Africa 2025 Vision for Agriculture which is implemented within the Framework of CAADP as a vehicle to implement and achieve the First Ten Year Implementation Plan of Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Among other commitments, the leaders committed to Mutual Accountability to Results and Actions by conducting a biennial Agricultural Review Process that involves tracking, monitoring and reporting on implementation progress in achieving the provisions of the Malabo Declaration. This Commitment translates, this time, a stronger political will for AU Leaders to effectively achieve Agricultural Growth and Transformation on the Continent by 2025 for improved livelihoods and shared prosperity for African citizens.

Therefore, the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency together with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States, in collaboration with partners designed for the first time ever a Biennial Reporting Mechanism, established a pool of technical experts, helped strengthen the culture of mutual accountability, and developed the “Inaugural Biennial Report on the Implementation of the Malabo Declaration”.

The seven (7) Malabo Commitments were translated into seven (7) thematic areas of performance: (i) Re-committing to the Principles and Values of the CAADP Process; (ii) Enhancing investment finance in agriculture; (iii) Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025; (iv) Reducing poverty by half, by 2025, through inclusive agricultural growth and transformation; (v) Boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services; (vi) Enhancing resilience of ivelihoods and production systems to climate variability and other related risks; and (vii) Strengthening mutual accountability to actions and results.

In this Report, twenty-two (23) performance categories and forty three (43) indicators have been defined, for the seven (7) thematic areas of performance aligned to the commitments to evaluate country performance in achieving agricultural growth and transformation goals in Africa. This has been done through a continent wide consultation process.

Highlights on intra-African trade for agriculture commodities and services

Risks and Opportunities

Meeting the Malabo commitments implies that further development of agriculture markets and trade in agricultural inputs and outputs will continue to play a pivotal role, because it is mostly through markets that farm producers will gain greater access to productivity-enhancing inputs and equipment; that farmers and agro-food processors will have more opportunities to earn income from their products; that investors, including farmers, will see opportunities to invest in additional production, processing and marketing capacities.

Despite the impressive GDP growth experienced in recent years, Africa has remained a marginal player in world trade. The continent's shares in world exports (2.8% on average) and imports have fallen significantly over 1970-2010. In addition to losing shares in the global markets, Africa trades relatively little with itself. Official intra-African trade was just 11% of the continent's total trade in 2012, compared to 54% in developing Asia; 32% in developed America, and 66% in Europe. Also Intra-African trade performance is of particular concern as, in the face of abundant endowment in unexploited suitable resources (e.g. land and water) for agriculture, the continent depends, at levels of 87% to 90%, on extra-African sources for all its imports of food and agricultural products. As a result, Africa has faced a food and agricultural import bill averaging US$ 69.5 billion over 2010-2012, rising by 15% per year faster than intra-African trade (12%) to reach some US$ 78 billion in 2012.

The trade blocks (ECOWAS, COMESA, EAC, SADC and UMA) have developed institutional mechanisms that have facilitated and promoted trade of agricultural commodities in the continent. This has been through various measures such as harmonization of policies and regulations, promotion of free movement of goods and people, among others. As a result, the continent is on track on the trade facilitation Index.

The volume of intra-African agricultural trade has increased by 14.9% between 2015 and 2016 compared to the 2017 milestone 20% to be on-track for tripling intra-African trade by 2025. This has been possible because of the contribution of: 42% in Western Africa from the high contribution of 92% in Senegal; and 16% increase in Northern Africa. A decrease of 15% is observed in Southern Africa, and of 3% decrease in East Africa. This suggests that there are still several challenges that need to be addressed to promote agricultural trade. Climatic variability is an example of such challenges due to its effect on agricultural production. For instance, agriculture output in southern Africa decreased by almost 30% in 2015 due to the dry spells caused by the El Nino which partly explain the observed reduction in agricultural trade.

Major constraints on national and regional food marketing and trade include: High transport costs resulting from poor infrastructure and inadequate transport policies; Important post-harvest losses due to poor storage infrastructure and processing facilities; Unclear/unpredictable trade policies and regimes; Ineffective implementation of regional trade agreements; Lack of harmonized standards, rules and regulations; Restrictive customs/crossborder procedures; Poor stakeholder information on markets, policies and regulations; and Limited access to efficient and affordable value-chain and trade finance.

Tackling these constraints calls for facing up to two broad categories of challenges: (i) prioritizing and filling the deficit in hard and soft market and trade infrastructure, and (ii) tackling the policy and institutional deficiencies to strengthen intra-regional and inter-regional market integration and trade facilitation. Moreover, there is a challenge of linking the agriculture, industrialization and trade policy and investment planning processes. Upgrading intra-African food and agricultural trade out of informality is a major challenge on the way forward.

In particular, it is vital to note that the continent and all the regions (Eastern, Southern and West Africa) that reported on the domestic food price volatility indicator are on-track. There were twenty (25) countries out of the forty seven (47) that are on track which implies that the continent and the regions are still very susceptible to price shocks. This situation is likely to exacerbate the challenges of food insecurity in the continent. This is a worrisome situation and it requires the continent to work tirelessly to minimize domestic food price volatility.