Improving Statistics for Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture, and Rural Development: An Action Plan for Africa (2011-2015)
Agriculture plays a key role in Africa’s development in terms of economic growth, enhanced living standards, poverty reduction and increased food security. For this reason, African heads of state and government adopted an African initiative to assist African countries to revitalize agricultural growth to combat hunger and poverty.
In response to the decline in both the quality and quantity of agricultural statistics in developing countries, the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) produced a Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics in February 2010. The purpose of the Global Strategy was to provide a framework and methodology that would lead to improvements in the availability and quality of international food and agricultural statistics.
Africa was the first region to implement the Global Strategy, and the Action Plan for Africa of the Global Strategy was designed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Union Commission (AUC). The action plan adopts a long-term perspective of 10 to 15 years and follows a phased approach, with the first phase covering the period from 2011 to 2015.
The availability of accurate and consistent data will have a number of positive effects. It will allow farmers to make better choices in sowing and selling, and will boost agricultural productivity and incomes. It will also allow governments to develop socioeconomic planning and monitor progress.
The implementation of the plan follows a twin-track approach: one track will cover country assessment, capacity building, the development of sustainable statistical infrastructure and research; the second track will include training and technical assistance.
A work program for the Action Plan for Africa was established to ensure better results, lower costs, harmonized efforts and build synergies among lead institutions. The Global Implementation Plan will be supported by a Global Multidonor Trust Fund for Agricultural Statistics (GMDTFAS), hosted by the FAO and the World Bank. This fund will allocate resources to regions where the mobilization of funds is weaker. A Regional Trust Fund for Africa will be managed by the African Development Bank. The initial estimation for the first phase (2011-2015) is expected to be an average of US $13.2 million per year to support all African countries over five years.
The required total budget is expected to be mobilized by donors. The regional implementing structures may be able to provide between 15 and 20 per cent of the budget. AfDB will host the Regional Implementation Secretariat, while the FAO will host the Global Office.