Midrand, 12th September 2011 - On Wednesday, the 7th of September 2011, the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) and the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China (MoA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is aimed at providing a framework for cooperation and coordination between the two organisations. The agreement is intended to accelerate agricultural growth and productivity to reduce poverty and hunger, by eliminating underlying constraints in aspects of the African agricultural sector.
The signing ceremony was a key event in the programme for the China-NEPAD Agency Agricultural Cooperation Seminar which took place from the 5th to the 10th September. The MoU was signed by Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD Agency CEO and Mr. Wang Ying, the Director General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture. The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Vice Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Niu Dun. Present also at the signing ceremony were senior officials from the MoA and the members of the NEPAD Agency delegation.
The Agreement aims to support the implementation of joint efforts between the NEPAD Agency and MoA in support of the implementation of Africa’s agriculture and rural development agenda, in a number of key areas which include: (i) agricultural technology demonstration centres; (ii) vocational training for Africans; (iii) agriculture research; (iv) aquaculture and marine fishery; (v) exchange of policy experience related to agricultural development. Under the Agreement, China will explore opportunities to strengthen the role of existing bilateral cooperation, including training programs and technical experts in support of the provision of appropriate technologies to the CAADP priorities at country level, and identify options to scale-out the bilateral outcomes to the sub-regional and continental implementation of agriculture and rural development priorities.
Both parties will work together to enhance the participation of Chinese enterprises as well as African enterprises in Africa’s agriculture and rural development. Furthermore, they will work together to regularly arrange high-level exchanges, and have policy, practical and technical dialogues between Africa and China with a view to accelerating Africa’s agricultural and rural development;
Before the signing ceremony, Dr. Mayaki paid a courtesy call on Vice Minister Dun. During their meeting, Dr. Mayaki thanked the MoA for the arranging the Seminar, which was preceded by three study tours to Africa that were organised by the NEPAD Agency for Chinese senior policy officials, research scientists and fisheries officials, respectively. He reiterated the commitment to agriculture by African Heads of States and Government, which is reflected in their endorsement of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) in 2003. He further noted Africa’s immense agricultural potential. However, he added that this potential can be realised if Africa was able to learn from China’s successes in (i) agriculture and rural transformation policies; (ii) agricultural technologies; and (iii) human capacity development.
The NEPAD Agency within its mandate, will add value to the on-going bilateral agriculture and rural development programmes between China and Africa by assisting the African Union member states to incorporate the above into their national CAADP development processes. Lastly, Dr. Mayaki assured the Vice Minister that he would report to the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Dr. Jean Ping, the outcome of the agreement between the NEPAD Agency and MOA.
In his response, H.E. Mr. Niu Dun thanked NEPAD Agency CEO Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki for the suggestions on the areas of cooperation and noted that the MoU will lay the sound foundation for the cooperation between THE NEPAD AGENCY and MoA. HE assured the NEPAD Agency that a Work Plan will be prepared to guide the implementation of the MOU. Mr, Dun further noted a number of concrete areas of priority, including (i) strengthening the capacity of African agricultural systems in order to help farmers produce more; (ii) enhanced exchange of information in order to improve communication of technologies; (iii) launch pilot agricultural and rural development projects to implement the cooperation, (iv) recommend private sector to work on joint production activities in both China and Africa. He pointed out the need for the NEPAD Agency and MoA to jointly mobilise resources to implement the programmes under the MoU, notably from the African Development Bank (AfDB), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of China.