Heads of state and government at the opening of the 23rd AU Ordinary Session in Malabo.
Photo: African Union Commission


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In 2014, in Equatorial Guinea’s capital of Malabo, the African Union relaunched the continental African Agriculture Transformation agenda, the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Trade has become one of the new focus areas. What can we expect from the Malabo agenda for fostering intra-African agricultural trade? And what can we learn from CAADP implementation so far?

In 2003, African leaders took a first step towards reversing decades of neglect with a strong commitment to investing in agriculture. Through the Maputo Declaration at the second African Union (AU) summit, held in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, African heads of state and government made a bold promise: to allocate ten per cent of national budgets to agriculture and seek a six per cent annual agricultural growth rate. They also adopted a lead document that structured the programme into four thematic pillars. Regional agricultural trade was not a target as such, but it was conceptually covered by Pillar 2: “Rural Infrastructure and Trade-Related Capacities for Market Access”. This Pillar was supposed to promote all kinds of trade, from local to international.

In the 2014 Malabo Declaration on “CAADP and commitment to accelerate agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods”, regional agricultural trade is now one of the seven key commitments (see Box below).

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