Botswana has emerged the worst performing country in implementing the seven commitments of delivering Africa’s agricultural plan that seeks to end hunger and half poverty by 2025 through advancing agriculture.
This is according to the third Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAAP) Biennial Review Report launched recently.
The African agricultural plan, dubbed the Malabo Declaration, among other things aims to foster alignment, harmonisation and coordination among multi-sectorial efforts and multi-institutional platforms for peer-review, mutual learning and mutual accountability. The report assessed the performance of 51 countries in 2021 up from 49 countries in 2019. Countries are considered ‘on-track’ to meet the goals and targets of the Malabo Declaration by 2025 if their total score is equal to or high that the benchmark of 7.28 or progressive when their score is equal to or more than 5 but less than 7.28 or not on-track if their score is less than 5.
The report recommended that the Botswana Government should increase public agriculture expenditure as a share of total public expenditure and to modernise agricultural technology. Botswana was also called on to provide training and affordable loans to the youth in agribusiness and focus attention on social protection policies to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience for those food-insecure.
Botswana’s 2021 scorecard for implementing the Malabo Declaration shows that the country’s commitment to the CAADP Process, investment Finance in Agriculture, was found to be not on track. Also found not to be on track was the country’s efforts to end hunger, eradicate poverty through agriculture and resilience to climate variability. Botswana also performed poorly on access to agriculture inputs and technologies, CAADP based policy and institutional review/ setting/support, food security and nutrition and youth jobs in agriculture. Botswana also failed to deliver on resilience to climate related risks, peer review and mutual accountability, intra-African trade in agriculture commodities and services, inclusive PPPs for commodity value chains.
But Botswana was on track in trade openness which has contributed to good performance on intra-regional trade in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The report shows that the overall average score for the southern African region is 4.11, which indicates that the region is not on-track in meeting the CAADP/Malabo commitments when assessed against the 7.28 benchmark for the 2021 (Biennial Review) BR.
It says this represents a 3.5 percent decline in performance when compared to the 2019 BR. Among the 12 member states, none is on track, which represents a 66.7 percent decrease from the number of member states that were on track in the inaugural BR but represents no change from the 2019 BR. According to the report, Southern Africa is not on track in any of the seven Malabo commitments in the 2021 BR, whereas it was on track on four commitments in the inaugural BR but was also not on track on any of the commitments in the 2019 BR.
The region has, however, taken considerable efforts in the commitments on Mutual Accountability for Actions and Results, Resilience to Climate Variability, Commitment to CAADP Process, and intra-African Trade in Agriculture Commodities and services where they have achieved around half of the required milestones for achieving those themes.
The report says ending hunger in Africa by 2025 will only be realised by ensuring that sustainable agricultural mechanisation is integrated into the agricultural development policies and strategies of AU member states. It says investments in agricultural mechanisation along the food value chain are urgently needed to enable actors to increase their productivity and communities’ prosperity while renewing the attractiveness of the agricultural sector to rural youth with the introduction of new jobs and technologies..