Agriculture is one of the major economic sectors in Africa. The sector contributed more than $100 billion to Africa’s GDP in 2016. Over 60 percent of the Sub-Saharan African population practices agriculture in rural areas, producing 60– 70 percent of food consumed.
The agricultural sector contributes to 70 percent of GDP in the region. However, climate change poses a growing threat to sustainable progress in Africa’s agriculture, and development and can affect around 700 million people. Two-thirds of Africa’s arable lands could be lost by 2025 because of climate change, which deepens the effects of human practices that can be inappropriate at times (overexploitation of lands, use of outdated techniques, insufficient irrigation, etc.), leading to desertification. The direct consequence of land degradation is loss of the soil’s productive capacity.
Non-Aligned Movement, the largest multilateral organization voicing the development concerns of the developing nations, has underlined the need to enhance agriculture resilience in Africa through addressing the economic, social and environmental impact of climate change, desertification and land degradation. NAM has supported the implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing agriculture resilience in Africa, in particular initiatives launched under the leadership of the African Union Commission such as “The Great Green Wall” and “The Land Policy Initiative”.
The Great Green Wall Initiative was launched in 2007 with an aim to restore Africa’s degraded landscapes and in the process transform millions of lives in one of the world’s poorest regions, the Sahel. A decade after it was launched, the initiative is already empowering local people not only to survive in this harsh environment, but to thrive once more.
By 2030, the objective is to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create a minimum of 350,000 jobs in rural areas. The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel initiative is now being implemented in more than 20 countries across Africa’s Sahel region and more than 8 billion dollars have been mobilized and promised in its support.
Another notable program is the Land Policy Initiative. The Land Policy Initiative is a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Its purpose is to enable the use of land to lend impetus to the process of African development. Current targets of LPI include: 1) Twenty Member States developing land policies and adopting implementation tools that enhance women’s secure access to land and recognize the legitimacy of Africa’s customary based land rights and institutions by 2020; and 2) Ten Member States putting in place transparent, efficient and cost-effective Land administration systems which are reflective of Africa’s unique realities by 2020.
Initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture to Climate Change (AAA) is another major initiative for enhancing agricultural resilience in Africa. The initiative rests on two pillars: 1) Advocacy to secure financing for projects of agricultural adaptation in African countries; and 2) Promotion of innovative solutions to respond to Africa’s top priority needs.
AAA promotes and encourages the implementation of concrete projects to improve soil management, agricultural-water control, climate-risk management, and financial-capacity building. It highlights technical solutions as well as good practices and accompanying measures, notably technical and managerial capacity building. Another major measure for enhancing the agriculture resilience in Africa is the Security, Stability and Sustainability in Africa also referred to as the 3S initiative. The objective of the 3S Initiative is to provide alternatives to forced migration and radicalization; creating jobs for young people, women and migrants through the restoration of degraded lands; strengthening land access and tenure rights; and enhancing early warning systems to predict drought and other natural disasters and effectively respond to displacement of populations.