Addis Ababa, 31January 2017 (ECA) – Acting Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok, of the Economic Commission for Africa on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the ECA and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) providing a framework for strategic collaboration between the two UN entities in areas including sustainable agriculture and agribusiness development, food and nutrition security on the continent, regional integration and trade.
The MoU will also see the two organisations cooperating in the development of strategies for policy assistance, statistics, the regional coordination mechanism (RCM), population dynamics and urban-rural linkages and governance, among others.
Specific joint projects, programmes and other activities will be undertaken in the priority areas for strategic collaboration.
The FAO is the leading organization within the United Nations system in the field of food and agriculture, and works towards the achievement of its vision of a world free from hunger and malnutrition where food and agriculture contribute to improving the living standards of all, especially the poorest, in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner;
While the ECA, one of the United Nations’ five regional commissions and the regional development arm of the United Nations in Africa, has a mandate to promote economic and social development by fostering international cooperation among its Member States. The ECA also focuses on supporting Member States in achieving internationally agreed development goals, gender equality and promoting regional sustainable development by helping to bridge economic, social and environmental gaps among Member States.
“The FAO and ECA share common goals and objectives and recognize the importance of undertaking concerted and coordinated programmes to further these common goals and objectives, based on the reciprocal recognition of each party’s role and responsibilities,” said Mr. Hamdok, adding the FAO was the ECA’s oldest partner having signed their first MoU in 1958.
He said the MoU was important, especially as agriculture plays a crucial role in Africa being the backbone of many economies.
Mr. Hamdok said the MoU will allow the ECA and the FAO to look into challenges facing the agricultural sector on the continent, including the need to stop the exportation of raw commodities from Africa, the need to add value, update technology to increase yields, financing and other issues.
“The MoU is very timely and relevant. The broad framework will allow us to identify areas of cooperation and we are looking forward to working together in that regard,” he said.
For her part, Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Director General Natural Resources, who signed on behalf of the FAO, said agricultural has always been at the center of the two organisations’ work raising the need for more cooperation and collaboration in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, rural development, agro-industries and others.
“The MoU we are signing today gives us a broad framework for strategic cooperation. In Vision 2063, Africa’s 50-year developmental plan, agriculture features prominently in its role to help Africa’s transformation.
Ms. Samedo noted that the challenges ahead include feeding a population of two billion by 2050 in the midst of climate change and in order to cope, “we need to do more with the same - improve our productivity and use technology to transform the sector and contribute to the transformation of the African economy.”
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