‘Collective Effort’ key for Sustainable Dev’t in Africa

ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says collective and extraordinary efforts are must to realize Agenda 2063 – African Union master plan which aspires to bring about inclusive and Sustainable development in the continent.

The call came after the two-year old Covid-19 pandemic put Africa off track from the plan’s objective, and its impact dealt a blow to a decade long economic growth Africa registered.

Leaders of the AU member states met in Addis Ababa after a two-year disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the AU summit Saturday, Prime Minister Abiy said the AU has already committed to undertake ambitious plans designed to transform the continent and create the Africa We Want.

“Fulfilling our aim of birthing the Africa we want through robust implementation of Agenda 2063 and its flagship projects will require us to make extraordinary efforts collectively,” Abiy said.

He further pointed out that over the past year, acute food insecurity in Africa has increased by over 60 percent as the effects of the pandemic continue to aggravate the continent’s fragile economies.

“Floods, droughts, desert locust and other climate-related natural disasters have increased food insecurity for millions of our citizens,” he said, despite having 60 percent of the world’s arable land.

“It is of utmost importance that we need to use our natural assets to maximize agricultural output and feed our people without reliance on external assistance,” he said.

Ethiopia’s Experience

In this regard, the PM cited Ethiopia’s substantial investments in agricultural productivity through irrigation, and that farmers have been able to control and manage production factors to maximize yields using irrigation.

“In the past two years, Ethiopia has made substantial investments in intensifying summer wheat production through irrigation,” he noted.

“Our farmers have been able to control and manage production factors to maximize yields using irrigation.”

Nationally, the PM said the country attained production of 20 million quintals of irrigated wheat farmed on over 500,000 hectares.

“This has generated nearly 60 billion Birr income to our farmers,” Abiy said.

According to him, these efforts are generating great results and will, in the imaginable future, begin to contribute to the country’s food security and self-sufficiency, despite the climate variability the region is confronted with.

Green Legacy

Abiy also indicated that Ethiopia has launched a major reforestation initiative under the slogan “Green Legacy” since 2019.

“One of the toughest challenges we face in Ethiopia is dealing with the effects of deforestation,” the PM said. Ethiopia’s forest coverage, which was 35% a century ago, stands at just 4% for the past two decades.

“We believe afforestation is one of the most effective ways of climate change mitigation,” the Ethiopian PM told the leaders.

The country has managed to plant 18 billion seedlings in the past three years through a Green Legacy Initiative, which targets to plant 20 billion in four years. With the Green Legacy initiative in this final year, Ethiopia will not only meet its national target, but plans to surpass the target by reaching 25 billion, Abiy said.

In addition, the country has sent seedlings to neighboring countries through this initiative to inspire regional efforts.

“If we can collaborate to spread the message of ‘Green Legacy’ in the continent and implement measures that maximize food security and self-sufficiency, we will be able to guarantee our citizens the basic necessities of life without reliance on charity,” the PM stressed.