An African Union research-based evaluation report has indicated that Rwanda continues to make progress in implementing the Malabo Commitments especially in agriculture financing and policy implementation.
The seven Malabo commitments set in 2014 are; recommitting to the Principles and Values of CAADP processes, Investment finance in agriculture, ending hunger by 2025, halving poverty by 2025, boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services, enhancing resilience to climate variability, mutual accountability for results and actions.
The Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) 2023 Annual Trends and Outlook Report (ATOR) aimed at giving a look into progress made and post Malabo agenda was unveiled in Kigali November 27, 2023 during the ReSAKSS conference that brought together state and non-state actors to deliberate on the key findings and policy recommendations of the report.
Under the CAADP process, the ReSAKSS supports efforts to promote evidence- and outcome-based policy planning and implementation and in particular, provides data and related analytical and knowledge products to facilitate CAADP benchmarking, review, and mutual accountability processes.
AKADEMIYA2063 leads the work of ReSAKSS in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD), and leading regional economic communities (RECs).
The report analyzes opportunities for transforming Africa’s food systems across various themes, including climate adaptation, health, nutrition, food safety, science and technology, data needs, and more, with forward-looking recommendations to inform the post-Malabo agenda.
Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Executive Chairperson and Board Chair, AKADEMIYA2063 –that commissioned the report said there has been progress in the last years since the Malabo declaration initiated in 2014 but more work is needed as Africa looks to the post –Malabo agenda (from 2025).
Badiane said that there is progress in adapting CAADAP principles, mutual accountability and reporting, building databases, achieving the 10% budget allocation- which is good news though all countries are not there yet.
The 4th CAADP Biennial Review assessment shows that Rwanda emerged as the leading performer (8.07) but as of 2023 no African country has met the established benchmark of 9.29 out of 10.
Badiane said that each of the countries is at a different stage in this multi-faceted agenda but Rwanda has been in the lead despite the challenges at hand.
“Yes Rwanda has been in the lead from the start of the agenda implementation, but we have other countries such as Morocco, Malawi, Zambia, and Ghana making progress,” Badiane said.
The ATOR report shows challenges in commitments on reducing hunger, malnutrition, in intra Africa trade of which there has seen progress with the AfCTA establishment but which also needs to be speeded up by regional blocs.
Should Rwanda Sit and Relax?
Despite the performance, statistics on food systems show that 40% of the agriculture produce is wasted in post-harvest due to lack of markets, over 250 million African people on the continent are hungry or food insecure (from 175.7 million in 2010) and about 20 million children are stunted.
Rwanda is one of the countries that is struggling with reducing stunting (from the current 33% to 19% by 2024) and increasing agriculture productivity through de-risking, especially after the country has seen climate related impacts on productivity and thus an increase in headline inflation.
With only two years to the close of the first Malabo commitments, Dr. Badiane said that there is progress but also still room for improvement and looking at the post Malabo agenda (beyond 2025) the commitments can be met.
This will require new thinking and innovation around areas of gender (engaging women actively), innovations and substantial investment in climate resilience.
Dr. John Ulimwengu, the co-editor of the report said that the types of innovations that can be brought in include the gender aspect that is driven beyond contribution but by women empowerment, energy resilience, policy; innovation and technology to drive food systems to attain sustainable diet for Africans to reduce the $50billion spent annually on imported processed foods.
Eric Rwigamba, Rwanda’s Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said that the conference occurs at the back-drop Rwanda’s current effort to develop the national Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA 5) which will have at its core the Food System.
Under PSTA 4, Rwanda increased irrigated land to 71,585 hectares reaching 70% of the 2024 target.
However, challenges still remain. Rwanda’s crop yields have seen a decrease of about 4% since 2018. Climate change, with its unpredictable rain patterns and emerging diseases continue to be a formidable adversary affecting the agriculture sector growth with a 0.3% level two years in a row.