AU leaders end 22nd summit in Addis Abeba, without rising above the usual sham and hypocricy

4 Feb

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory

The 22nd summit of the AU had accomplished three tasks. First, the summit either pretended to or tried to discuss how to extinguish the raging fires of conflicts here and there within the region. Of course, conflict in Africa is akin to the summer fires in Australia or North America. Nonetheless, they had to put their emphasis on the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

It is unfortunate that the summiteers did not have any insight into the what is stoking the fires of new conflicts. Therefore, none amongst them stopped the others to ask themselves what is to be done about the small fires power mongers and the forces of repression are in the process of fanning, if not already created them.

The second task was to fill in the gaps on dotted papers – meaning to extend in some form those existing programs that are to expire. Therefore in that regard the major task was, in keeping with the declaration of the AU summit on July 1, 2014 to end hunger in Africa by 2025, to put their stamp of approval on the successor program to the decade long agricultural program that just expired.

The third task was a yet again continuing shameful undertaking, i.e., to act on a resolution drafted by Kenya. Its aim is to serve as sort of reminder to all African leaders to instruct their foreign ministers to take firm stand against the ICC at the UN, Assembly of state parties or wherever. The hypocrisy is that each of them was protecting his skin.

The position they so adopted stated: “African states parties should comply with African Union decisions on the ICC and continue to speak with one voice … There is an imperative need for all member states to ensure that they adhere to and articulate commonly agreed positions…”

Closing of AU 22nd summit (Credit: AU)

Closing of AU 22nd summit (Credit: AU)

The media jamboree about agriculture and the 22nd summit

When the leaders left to their respective capitals, it then became the turn of the media to hit the national airwaves. In some countries, they have good journalists and there is also some standard, as in Kenya, and the analysis was readable – not pitifully groveling as in Ethiopia.

News reports emerging from Ethiopia, the AU headquarters in Addis Abeba and those of other states, where the task of the media is to please the bosses, the end of the 22nd session is characterized as a time, when Africa has shown its commitment to transforming its agriculture. For most of them, like their leaders, they found it easier to speak about this, since there would be no accountability for the next decade – it is the case as in the famous Iranian joke of either the king or the bett giver dying.

As for agricultural successes, in Ethiopia the regime did not even want to wait until the end of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) successor for 2025 was adopted. It would be recalled that it was on January 18, 2014 that Prime Minister Desalegn announced Ethiopia’s readiness to soon become wheat exporter.

Recall that on July 1, 2013, the AU summit, chaired by Hailemariam adopted the declaration to end hunger in Africa by 2025. Of course, in Africa they leaders adopt one program after the expiry of the other. They do not even have the time, capacity and energy to assess the gains and obstacles to improve on future arrangements. The current agricultural program came into existence in 2002, when the AU-NEPAD conceived the idea of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).

For affect’s sake, the so-called Framework for African Agricultural Productivity (FAAP) was attached to it as sort of program manager and funding locator. In that capacity, it had to look around to donors and investors from the respective countries. Therefore, its task was to solicit donor and investor support for research and development ideas and works in Africa’s agriculture to help realize the African Vision the region’s heads of state had.

The financial requirement to be financed by the outside world was put at $251 billion for the period between 2002 and 2015, according to NEPAD’s report . Unfortunately, the decade ended with Africa still suffering from huge gaps of all sorts in its agriculture – financial, institutional, knowledge, technological, and most of all unbridgeable food gap for the growing population.

During the CAADP period, the main United Nations body responsible for agriculture, the FAO, focused on emergency projects worth $62.5 million, from which $58.6 million was devoted to Africa. Neither FAO nor donors had any appetite or input into improving agricultural productivity in Africa.

Helpless as it is, IFAD just was around rather to give its sympathy and moral support wastefully its executive travelling to each African country.

Therefore, half-way through the life of CAADP, according to the February 2013 report by the Us Department of Agriculture, agricultural total factor productivity, for instance, in Ethiopia in 2008 was 101 – 1961 being the index= 100. In 1981 it moved to 98, in 2001 to 92. When we compare this with Kenya, they had 164 in 2008, rising from 121 in 1981 and in 2001 still rising to 141. In agriculture, total factor productivity measures the total costs a farmer needs to produce economic outputs.

Before his expiry in the summer of 2012, Meles made it his point of amusement to tease his critics of his land grab policy, swearing that they were shooting their foot.

As a matter of habit, those farmers who criticized land grab were considered criminals, imprisoned and shot in some places. He retorted and attacked his diaspora critics saying they would soon become Africa’s laughingstock, when Ethiopia’s markets were infused with agricultural produces and increased incomes to the farming population.

Of course, he did not live long to either see that or hear his minister of agriculture Tefera Derbew 10 months later in May 2013 jumping ship. It was then the minister saw that the Meles direction was wrong; that he told Aman Sethi of The Hindu as failure of Meles’s projects in agricutlatural development. In that regard, he said “I have to be frank they [recipients of such huge chunks of land for chickenfeed as fee] didn’t meet our expectations … We would like to get the land developed in a short period of time … [but] Karuturi, Saudi Star and the like, their implementation is not to our satisfaction.” What else could he say since it is not within his authority to end the contracts of unruly investors.

It is a pity that African leaders caucusing in Addis Abeba have not heard this grand story of failure, before they adopted their CAADP II, which in essence is not any different. After all, CAADP also had experienced numerous suspicions since there were still not so few that only signed its compact in its half-way cycle, including Rwanda.

It is for a good reason that I liked Muthoni Wanyeki’s observation on Africa Review. While she is the East Africa representative of Amnesty International, she rightly noted in her personal capacity in Unspoken at Addis: Do African lives matter? that the life of Africans does not matter, whether these guys summit for a day or a century.
 

One Response to “AU leaders end 22nd summit in Addis Abeba, without rising above the usual sham and hypocricy”

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  1. Alongside higher agricultural yields, creeping hunger in Ethiopia challenges food security hopes | THE ETHIOPIA OBSERVATORY - February 5, 2014

    […] is supposed to be the morrow of doption by African leaders in Addis Abeba of their ideas of ending hunger by 2025. In the meantime, the NBC Tuesday released […]

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