1- The Inaugural Africa Rural Development Forum (ARDF), which was organised under the theme Sustainable Rural Transformation Agenda for Africa by the NEPAD Agency and hosted by the Republic of Benin, was held from 02 to 04 May, 2013.
2- There was a recognition that the theme of the Forum is consistent with the rural transformation vision of AU/NEPAD which includes i) accelerated and diversified economic growth in rural (including small towns in rural settings) areas including an expansion of employment and livelihood opportunities, ii) an enhanced pace of reduction in rural poverty and in inequality both between rural and urban areas (the cities) and between and within rural territories, and iii) enhanced environmental sustainability. The translation of this vision is expected to build on the foundation of successes and lessons from such AU initiatives as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Programme for Infrastructural Development in Africa (PIDA).
3- Considering that Africa has had growth without transformation, we agreed on the need to achieve sustainable rural development to deal with the challenges of high population growth, rural unemployment and underemployment especially of youth, growing demand for food and escalating food prices, climate change and variability, regional food insecurity, agriculture yield gap, and weak rural-urban linkages and lack of synergies between activities undertaken within the rural landscape.
4- Mindful of the importance of inclusive political dialogue and participatory processes in the formulation and design of public policies as key prerequisites for effective rural transformation, we agreed to promote broad-based national consensus on rural development and transformation as well as place rural development at the centre of national development plans, strategies and budgets.
5- Noting that Africa is on the threshold of a new technological age driven by rapid advances in information technology and communications systems, we resolve to put science, innovation, and technology at the service of rural transformation.
6- Considering that rural transformation has to be a multi-actor and mutli-sectoral agenda, we agreed the following elements to be critical perspectives for its implementation: Political Economy of Rural Transformation; Territorial Development and Multisectorality; Livelihoods, Employment, and Job Creation; Rural Infrastructure Development; and Environmental Management and Sustainability.
7- We agree the need for the following African values to provide the underlying framework within which the sustainable rural transformation agenda be pursued:
8- We agree on the following key principles to guide rural transformation:
9- We believe the following to be key success factors for sustainable rural transformation in Africa:
10- We urge the NEPAD Agency to continue taking leadership in mobilizing multi-level partnerships in order to implement the rural development and transformation agenda forward.