By Tandong Calistus Jong
An African Union Commission workshop focusing on critical analysis of the Biennial Review, BR, process has kicked off in Cameroon. The five-day event spanning from August 1–5 in Yaoundé seeks to refine the indicators that support the BR process formulation.
The Biennial Review is the primary mutual accountability mechanism that the African Union and its Member States use to track the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) borne from the Malabo Declaration.
The Biennial Review Report is a fundamental instrument that shows outcomes of different agricultural efforts and interventions on the continent, to enable countries track, measure and report progress achieved against agreed result areas.
Within CAADP implementation, it is anticipated that national investments into policy practices will deepen national ownership of the agriculture and food policy agenda, thus, yielding greater political and budgetary commitments and interest from the public and private sectors, leading to accelerated and more effective and efficient delivery of results and impact.
The Malabo Declaration also reasserts a strong commitment to reach CAADP’s goals by identifying specific goals and targets to be achieved within a period of ten years (2015-2025). These include, amongst others, enhancing investment finance in agriculture, poverty reduction, ending hunger, tripling intra-Africa trade in agricultural goods and services, and enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems, in order to ensure that agriculture contributes significantly to poverty reduction.
It is in this context that the CAADP Biennial Review process was established. The first BR Report (2017) was presented to the AU Summit in 2018. The AU Summit in 2020 adopted the second BR Report (2019), and the AU Summit of 2022 adopted the third BR report and the fourth BR cycle commenced in May 2022 with the launch of the Critical Analysis of the previous BR cycles, held on 26 to 27 May 2022, with special focus on the third BR report.
The guidelines for the Critical Analysis were validated with all stakeholders during a virtual meeting on 19 April 2022. The guidelines contain the following objectives of the Critical Analysis: a) To obtain feedback, observations and analyse the BR process and content with respect to the first, second and third cycles at different levels; b) To provide the opportunity for improving the BR data quality by carrying out analysis on the current indicators, assessing technical weaknesses in the indicators, proposing indicator development where necessary, weighting, and messaging; and c) Consider lessons learned and propose improvements for the next BR process.
Africa still spends around US$35 billion each year on food imports . This number may rise above US$110 billion by 2025 due to rapid population growth, changes in dietary habits and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change and for the continent to achieve the commitment of ending hunger in Africa by 2025, member states have to make every effort to triple intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services, which is one of the goals of the 2014 Malabo Declaration.