Some African stakeholders on Monday at the ongoing Africa Development Bank (AFDB), annual meetings in Arusha, Tanzania, said that Africa was paying lip service to the age-old issue of drought and its economic consequence.
They said that their consensus stemmed from the static position of drought related initiatives in the continent in the past three decades.
The stakeholders drawn from AFDB, East African Economic Commission, ECOWAS and the private sector, also warned that drought has assumed a continental dimension contrary to earlier regional concerns.
Addressing a cross section of participants on the theme, “Drought Crisis and Food Insecurity in Africa: In Search of a Cure, Abdirahman Beileh, AFDB Acting Director said that lack of political will by the various African states government had made development partners effort ineffective.
“Apart from the lack of political will from the various African governments, poor coordination, absence of drought policy harmonisation and the question of peace and stability were also obstacles affecting drought management in the continent,” Beileh said.
Madam Anah Abdulkadri, an Ethiopian consultant on drought management, said that the changing global environment and its effect on agriculture make it imperative for African government to declare a sustainable inclusive plan of action.
Abdulkadri, a former member of Ethiopian parliament said the unchecked effect of the continental drought on food security has made it a major impediment to Africa’s sustainable development and growth.
“We now need visible proactive implementation of drought policy action plans and not the usual talk shop. We must depart from doing business as usual by seeking harmonisation of the age long identified programmes to free our people from poverty and diseases,” she said.
Mahbouh Moalim, Executive Secretary, inter-Governmental Authority on Development, said that funding and sustainable management of resources were the major problem in checking the dangers of drought in the African economic value chain.
“Having things done in a timely and a coordinated manner through the existing policy framework remains the only way forward in tackling African drought problem and ensuring continental food security,” Moalim said.
Dr Hammadou Mahalmoudu of the Niger-based CLSS order in West Africa said that the nongovernmental organisation (NGOs’)’ fix dated approach to the issue of drought negates the overall development needs of Africans.
“In West Africa where most of the NGOs’ operate, we noticed that their fix dated approach is driven more by the amount of money they would earn and not development or building sustainable capacity,” Mahalmoudu said.
AFDB Vice-President Kamal El kheshen said that the focus was on collaborating with member states and development partners in seeking innovative management approach to drought related problem in Arica.
“We belief that the issue of skill, technology driven production and increasing the valued added to African goods remain our priority,” he said.