Growing Opportunity: Measuring Investment in Africa Agriculture

A decade ago, African leaders made a bold commitment to reverse decades of neglect of the agriculture sector. Through the Maputo Declaration at the July 2003 African Union summit, African heads of state promised to allocate 10% of national budgets on agriculture and seek 6% annual agricultural growth. In 2009, in the aftermath of a sharp spike in food prices, G8 donors at L’Aquila pledged $22 billion over three years to support sustainable agriculture and food security with effective, targeted assistance.

In this report ONE asks: have African leaders and donors met these commitments and seized the opportunity to set African agriculture on the path to deliver its poverty-reducing potential? ONE looked at 19 African countries with signed, reviewed national agriculture investment plans and assessed progress on their commitments to reduce poverty, invest in agriculture, and include citizens in decision-making. The report also looks at eight donors and evaluates the quantity and quality of agriculture assistance, with special attention to their commitment to support country ownership.

The report findings show that progress over the past ten years is undeniable. Where political will, domestic investment, donor support and effective plans have been combined, the agriculture sector has delivered growth and poverty reduction. However, the Maputo financing commitments are off track, donors have disbursed only half of their commitments, and African agriculture plans remain only about 50% funded. Until these commitments are fulfilled, the full poverty-reducing potential of African agriculture cannot be realized.

The findings of the report are especially timely. The African Union is preparing for 2014, ‘the year of agriculture’ in Africa, a once in a decade opportunity for renewal of African leadership. Meanwhile, the G8 Summit in Lough Erne and the related food and nutrition event in London in June 2013 present historic opportunities for G8 leaders to contribute to African nations’ goals of lifting millions from poverty and preventing chronic malnutrition. Will they heed this call?

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