Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CCDA IV: Global Attention Shifts As Africa Wants to Feed Africa

As the dust of the recently concluded climate march in New York begins to settle, global attention has once again shifted to Africa as the fourth edition of the Climate Change Development in Africa (CCDA-IV) conference sets sail.

With the screaming theme “Africa can feed Africa now: translating climate knowledge into action”, the conference, which is organised by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (ADB) will  hold in Marrakech, Morocco, from 8 to 10 October 2014.

According to Fatima Danton, the ACPC Coordinator, the conference aspires to promote the use of climate information to enhance agricultural performance in a changing climate and to maintain the momentum of economic growth, with a view to helping Africa to feed itself and eliminating poverty. 

Addressing the pre-conference event earlier today, Ken Johm stated that the Conference will “focus on how the continent can feed its people and sustain growth in the face of climate change challenges. Specifically, it will address how to make use of available climate information, clean energy technology, innovation, research and development to enhance agricultural performance and achieve economic structural transformation.”

On her part, Olushola Olayide of the African Union Commission  expressed optimism that the Conference will provide a platform for sharing experiences, addressing emerging climate challenges, drawing upon new knowledge, and exploring opportunities related to climate change, to enhance the agricultural value chain and ensure food security both now and in the future.

With Climate change complicating efforts to find solutions to Africa’s inability to deploy its agriculture to match the needs of its growing population, it has therefore become imperative for Africa to consider options such as improving agricultural performance and enhancing capacity, with a view to turning climate challenges into opportunities and facilitating broad-based poverty reduction and food security for all.

As Agriculture remains a key driver of Africa’s economic growth, providing employment opportunities for its young and rapidly growing population, experts believe global attention will focus on the capacity of the continent’s agricultural value chain to provide multiple entry points and pathways for advancing Africa’s transformative agenda towards a green economy and low carbon development. 

It is hoped that the four sub-themes of the Fourth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa will provide in-depth analyses of the agricultural value chain, with a view to reinvigorating productivity and achieving food security and sufficiency throughout the continent. 

For Africa to feed Africa, the conference must also identify strategic areas for increased investment in climate change research, development and innovation as well as explore ways of making technology accessible and affordable for farmers, to enhance opportunities for easy access to ag-ricultural finance and insurance, to facilitate trading and access to markets at all levels, and to create an enabling environment for private sector investment in the agricultural value chain. 

Enhanced agricultural performance cannot be achieved without investing in clean and efficient energy. Equally important is a better understanding of the agriculture, energy and water nexus, and of how Africa can harness ecosystems and natural capital to feed itself.

Atayi Babs
Marrakech, Morocco
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