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By Atayi Babs

ABUJA, Nigeria (PAMACC News) - Following suggestions that Donald Trump could only consider remaining a signatory of the Paris Agreement if new terms were reached, President of France, Emmanuel Macron has declared that the landmark Paris climate deal will not be renegotiated.

The French President's comments came during his address to the UN General Assembly amidst renewed hopes that the world's second largest polluter would remain tied to the accord's carbon emission targets.

Macron also told his audience at the United Nations General Assembly that "the door will be open" for the United States to return to the agreement if it so wishes.

"This agreement will not be renegotiated." "We will not retreat" he added.

Macron noted that the international community had so far fallen short of successfully addressing major threats such as climate change. Now more than ever before, we need common efforts to tackle environmental challenges and other global issues, Macron said, including war and terrorism.

"We can only address those challenges through multilateralism, not through survival of the fittest."

Macron also hit back at US President Donald Trump on Tuesday by staunchly defending the Iran nuclear deal at the UN General Assembly, speaking soon after Trump called the deal an "embarrassment to the United States".

“Renouncing it would be a grave error, not respecting it would be irresponsible, because it is a good accord that is essential to peace at a time where the risk of an infernal conflagration cannot be excluded,” Macron said.

The French president added that he had made his position clear to both Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when he met with them on Monday.

This article first appeared on the PAMACC website.

By Ann Wangalachi

Today, food security and nutrition matters are once again taking center stage in African development dialogue. The dialogue is yielding real commitment from public and business leaders; backed by financial pledges. This week alone, during the seventh edition of the African Green Revolution Forum, $ 280 million has been pledged to contribute to transforming Africa’s agriculture across 11 countries.

This week too, saw the recognition of efforts by two women — both pioneers in their chosen paths and contributions to transforming Africa’s rural areas by working on matters of nutrition and raising the productivity of key food crops. The two — Prof. Ruth Oniang’o and Maimouna Coulibaly — jointly won the Africa Food Prize 2017. The prize includes $100,000 and an ornate handcrafted glass trophy.

Both spent many years and at times their own resources to create enterprises that benefit rural farmers, most of whom are women. They have shown that it is not enough to give women access to improved farm inputs but it is also important to empower them with knowledge on how to produce more food, of good quality. To empower them to feed their families and villages.

I first met Prof. Oniang’o (‘Prof.’) nearly 20 years ago, and remember being struck by how different she was from my long-held mental image of what a food science and nutrition professor looked like and worked on. I imagined that they worked in labs, churning out new scientific discoveries, formulae, and processes that would contribute to food science and nutrition theory. 

This was debunked soon after I joined her non-profit — then Rural Outreach Program — and traveled with her to the program sites in rural Kenya. What I saw there amazed me: Prof. was turning textbook knowledge into pragmatic interventions that could be understood and adopted by the village women to improve nutrition outcomes of their families. As she later told me, this was ‘action research’. In the week that I spent in the villages in Butere, in Kenya’s western region, I saw this research translated into action firsthand.

Mothers were growing and feeding their families nutrient-packed green leafy vegetables, gifting each other a young heifer to boost family milk supplies, and learning how to ‘feed’ the soil on which they depended good food too. Prof. taught them that the soil and plants needed to be nourished for their good health, just as people and animals did. This was through promoting various soil health management practices such as crop rotation, mulching and intercropping of complementary crops (such as legumes and cereals) to balance out the nutrient consumption-depletion cycles. The desire to bring this knowledge and the benefits of these practices to the village women drove Prof. to knock relentlessly on doors of development partners and global non-profits to support this work.

In another part of the village, concrete structures were constructed to protect springs of water which were the community’s lifeline. Village-based extension agents traveled by motorcycle to bridge the gaps in access to extension services; supplying much-needed services and supplies such as artificial insemination, agronomic information, and veterinary supplies. 

The village women were also trained in how to save the money they made from selling surplus milk through ‘table banking’. Prof. also pushed for a more nuanced understanding of ‘gender’: that of men and women working together for the good of the community — thereby promoting the wholesome buy-in of these interventions. The interventions were interconnected and intuitive: adapted to fit in with local cultural norms and practices. As we visited each homestead, we were proudly served a balanced meal of indigenous green leafy vegetables, a glass of fresh cow’s milk and ugali (a stiff porridge made of maize flour). Once considered ‘poor man’s food’, these vegetables had once again taken their pride of place. At the time, I remember getting the feeling that I was witnessing something truly great and probably had the potential to work across Africa.

This week, as I interacted with Prof. and congratulated her on her Africa Prize win, she reminded me that her life’s work was to uplift village women across Africa. She dedicated this win to them and vowed to continue using whatever platforms available — boardrooms, classrooms, conferences — to tirelessly and passionately champion their cause. Congratulations Prof. on this win!

Anne Wangalachi manages Strategic Insights Academy and advises organizations on corporate communications and agribusiness strategy. She has been quoted in the Washington Post, and was the first production editor of AJFAND — a scientific journal founded by Prof. Ruth Oniang’o.

The article first appeared on medium.com

ADDIS ABABAm Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - Promoting a robust infrastructure growth in Africa will be a key driver to the continent’s development agenda, experts say.

According to James Murombedzi, coordinator, African Climate Centre, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the solution pathways to the success of Africa’s development agenda lies in infrastructure development to permit for the full exploitation of the rich resource potential the continent is endowed with.

In a paper presented under the theme “China-Africa Linkages in the Agricultural Sector and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities” in Addis Ababa, Murombedzi said that poor infrastructure development was a huge setback to agriculture growth, thus a constraint to the fight against rural poverty.

“There is need to push for infrastructure development in Africa. Investments in infrastructure are key drivers to the African rural development agenda,” he noted.

UN records show that Africa’s infrastructure financing needs are estimated at $135 billion per year. But currently, only around $77 billion is being funded, leaving a financing gap of almost $60 billion.

Close to 50% of the current financing is from governments and other public sources, with much of the rest made up by loans and grants from development partners, Murombedzi told media representatives in Addis Ababa.

 Investments, he notes, are required in order to increase the productivity of agriculture, irrigation, energy, transportation, and marketing.

“However, such investments should empower, not dispossess smallholder farmers and the vulnerable communities,” he cautioned.

Thus the need to partner with other development actors to better drive the Agenda 2063 and help Africa meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

“China and Africa can develop strong partnerships to promote these infrastructure development agenda,” he said.

Opening the ceremony of the Media Workshop on “Reporting Africa-China Engagements, Agriculture Developments, Climate Change, Industrialization, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063”,Chen Xufeng Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Mission to AU, said China was ready to accompany Africa in efforts towards bridging the infrastructure deficient gap.

“China has today become Africa's largest development partner, main investor, and engineering contractor. China-Africa cooperation faces new historic opportunities geared at accompanying efforts towards development especially in the area of infrastructure” Chen Xufeng said.

China he assured was firmly committed to promoting cooperation with the African continent through a common, intensive, green, secure and open development and supporting Africa’s efforts to address the main bottlenecks, namely lack of quality infrastructure, professional and skilled personnel and financial resources.

“China is ready to help Africa resolve three fundamental issues of employment, food, and health by developing a self-sustainable system of industrialization, food security, and disease prevention and control system, he noted.

China it was announced has completed a number of mega infrastructure projects including the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway, the Nairobi-Mombasa Railway in Kenya, and the Abuja-Kaduna Rail in Nigeria. Rapid progress has also been made in production capacity cooperation in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and the Republic of Congo as a pilot and pioneering countries and a dozen of priority partners for production capacity cooperation. There is also the construction of special economic zones and industrial parks in Ethiopia, Zambia, Uganda, Republic of Congo and Egypt with encouraging results, creating a large number of jobs for the local community, the ambassador said.

The workshop in Ethiopia accordingly was organized for Africa and Chinese journalists by Oxfam International’s Africa –China Dialogue Platform, ACDP and the Wits Africa Reporting Project.

The workshop focused on the crucial sectors of agriculture, climate change, and industrialization, SDGs and Agenda 2063.

Oxfam authorities pointed to the fact that agriculture and climate change have direct effects on food security in Africa while industrialization is at the center of Africa/China promulgations.

“ Industrialization is seen as an antidote to the high levels of poverty in Africa, which is manifest in frequent cases of famine,” says Apollos Nwafor, Pan African Director, Oxfam International.

According to the coordinator Africa-China reporting project, Barry Van Wyk, the project is to enable and support journalists to tell the stories of how the lives and experiences of people and communities of Africa are being changed and impacted by the comprehensive phenomenon of Africa’s engagement and interaction with China.

This story was first published on the PAMACC Website

ABIDJAN, Cote d’Ivoire (PAMACC News) Eleven African countries are set to benefit from multi-million dollar Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA), which has been launched alongside the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). 

PIATA is an innovative and transformative partnership and financing vehicle to drive inclusive agriculture transformation across the continent.

Three development partners, which include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have jointly pledged up to U.S. $280 million to catalyse and sustain inclusive agricultural transformation in Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

This is aimed at increasing incomes and improving food security of 30 million smallholder farmers. 

"We are pleased to be part of PIATA. We see it as an opportunity to leverage even more from the partners and their huge networks, for greater impact,” said Mr. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office during the launch of the initiative.

“We are looking forward to deploying the technologies that we have helped develop over the years, together with our shared knowledge and grant support, to work with our esteemed partners. Together we hope to catalyze Africa’s pursuit for prosperity through agriculture,” he told delegates at the AGRF in Abidjan.

The PIATA is an important collaboration between donors that aligns behind the Malabo agenda agreed to by African Heads of State and Government in 2014. It signals an enduring commitment to Africa’s transformation agenda. PIATA is but one of various means by which each of the partners are supporting African countries to deliver on agricultural transformation; its partners continue to provide support through avenues including direct support to continental agencies, government bodies and in-country partners. The partnership will allow partners to align and complement existing efforts, making new investments in developing input systems, value chains, and policy where they will have the most impact. 

According to the 2017 Africa Agriculture Status Report, Africa needs an agricultural revolution that is distinct and that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food supply chains, jobs and economic opportunities for large segments of the population.  Agriculture is still the best bet for inclusive African economic growth and poverty reduction.

Experts believe that such a transformation will require greater political, policy, and financing commitments from across the public and private sectors. It will also require new partnership models like PIATA, which is hailed as an outstanding example of how partners can collaborating with African countries' visions and systems to deliver on their own transformation, in line with their national economic development strategies.

 Mr. Rodger Voorhies, the Executive Director of the Global Growth and Opportunity Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, “We’ve seen significant progress when countries recognize the critical importance of agriculture to their economic development and help catalyze agricultural transformation with targeted investments, evidence-based policies, and strong national plans. PIATA is an exciting platform that can help countries take the lead in driving agricultural transformation. Our investment reflects our desire to help countries develop high-quality plans linked to national and continental accountability frameworks.” 

 It was also observed that delivering on Africa’s potential requires both the public and private sectors to engage in new ways and strengthen collaboration. The role of the private sector and non-state actors in agriculture development and in support of formulation of country agriculture plans is critical for sustainable growth.

 This was emphasized by Mr. Sean Jones, the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID. “PIATA offers a new way of doing business across the many public and private actors working to ensure food security and economic growth as called for in country-owned visions and the goals laid out in the Malabo Declaration. Agriculture is at its core a private sector enterprise, and one of the best bets for job creation and inclusive growth when the right policies and investments allow the private sector to flourish. This partnership offers an innovative mechanism to unlock this investment and realize many of the targets laid out in the Global Food Security Strategy approved by our Congress.”

 The PIATA launch comes at a critical time in the continent’s agriculture history. Most African countries have undertaken a rigorous review of the sector, developing and adopting a new generation of sector development plans that prepare them to do business. Continentally, the African Union is coordinating the biennial review of the progress made towards the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals, which will be presented in the first Biennial Review Report, along with a scorecard for the Heads of State to guide them in the sector’s transformation. 

Welcoming the new partnership, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), expressed her belief that the initiative would contribute significantly to accelerating Africa’s path to prosperity by growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture.

 “We have witnessed significant progress in our agricultural transformation over the past decade, with countries that have prioritized the sector recording notable drops in poverty levels, improved food security and inclusive economic growth. PIATA will be critical in bringing key players together to support governments in their push to fully unlock the potential of Africa’s smallholder farming and agribusiness as the surest drivers of job creation and the continent’s inclusive economic transformation,” she said.

 AGRA is the primary implementing institution of the partnership under the institution’s new strategy for the continent and plan agreed with priority countries.

This story was first published on the PAMACC Website

PACJA acknowledges the critical role media and journalists play in shaping the opinion of citizens in a given country. Through this objective, PACJA has been able to build a remarkable media presence, in Africa and internationally.

This interaction with African journalists has laid the foundation for robust and consistent collaboration. The result has been outstanding. There has been increasing and noted coverage of the environment and climate change news across Africa.

These have taken many shapes which include news, features, opinions, commentaries both in print, online and broadcast (in radio, television, and YouTube).

In 2013, PACJA facilitated the establishment of the Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC) aimed at motivating and encouraging journalists to consistently engage in climate change and environmental reporting.

PAMACC is one of Africa’s associations of environment journalists aim is to support journalists to improve their reporting on climate change. PAMACC also has regional coordinators, who will encourage journalists to set up national bodies in each country.

PACJA will continue to support such vital efforts until a time initiatives like PAMACC will evolve into autonomous platforms spearheaded by the sector without PACJA’s continued supervision and patronage. It is anticipated that PAMACC will be the coordinating network on journalist’s mobilization.

Click here to follow Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC) news, updates and other events.

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