Africa Poised to be Self-Reliant

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In an effort to make Africa self-reliant in terms of food and rid the continent of its endemic poverty, Heads of State and Government attending the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will today, Thursday, January 30, launch 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security.

The AU leaders will launch the themed year in a bid to bring hope to poverty-stricken Africans who go to bed hungry every day; even though their continent is home to an abundance of wealth that— when properly managed by their leaders— could make them self-sufficient.

The summit will run from January 30 to 31, 2014.

The event will also mark the tenth year since the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program; a program that was adopted by African leaders and partners to liberate the continents inhabitants from Poverty and Hunger.

To bring this dream to fruition African leaders agreed to allot at least ten percent of the national budget to the improvement of agriculture activities and food security in their respective countries, though this is yet to be adhered to by many.

According to the Executive Mansion, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf departed the country on Tuesday for Addis-Ababa to take part in this historic event at the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU.

Items on the agenda for consideration include the report of activities of the AU Peace and Security Council and the state of peace and security in Africa, as well as the activities of the Panel of the Wise alongside the renewal of its membership.

The AU leaders will also discuss the report on the assessment of the African Standby Force and the operationalization of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises, as well as launch the final report of the High-Level Panel on Fragile States.

Additionally, the Summit will consider the report of President Sirleaf, in her capacity as Chairperson of the High-Level Committee on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, on the proposed draft African Common Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Yet another report to be reviewed is the outcome document of the African regional consultative meeting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will serve as inputs to the African Common Position.

“On the heels of the AU Summit, President Sirleaf will hold bilateral meetings with representatives of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Environment Program and the European Union (EU), among others,” the Mansion said through a press release.

Meanwhile, Africans have for far too long lived in abject poverty and been plagued with numerous diseases inspite of its abundance of natural resources. Among these resources are its large virgin rain forests and ideal varieties of soil capable of boosting agricultural activities on the continent.

It is often said by political and economic pundits that the continents main problem has always been its lack of patriotic and visionary leaders who have failed and continue to fail millions of Africans by not properly managing the numerous natural resources the continent is endowed with.

They say that for far too long the continent has been reliant on external support through aid and donations from donors as African leaders plunder its wealth.

Bad governance and corruption are the chief causes of civil unrest on the continent and have become the order of the day. Statistics show that over 70 percent of Africans live on less than one United States dollar a day, a stark contrast to the lavish amounts many of the continents government officials are paid.

The designation of this year as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security is a laudable one and if political will and support are injected, it may be the beginning of releasing Africans from the burden of poverty.

While President Sirleaf is away from the country, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Morris Dukuly, will chair the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President, Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai.

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