George Mhango
October 06, 2015

The African Union (AU) and Nepad through experts from agriculture, water, rural development and environment have established a temporary bureau to facilitate sessions towards the adoption of terms of reference (ToRs) for the pending Specialized Technical committee (STC).

A representative from Zimbabwe was elected chairperson of the bureau during a high level three-day experts’ ministerial meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday.

Others experts from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan assumed the vice, second vice and third vice presidency roles in that order. Mauritania was mandated with duties of a rapporteur.

Nepad and the African Union (AU) are the main sponsors of the meeting which has drawn various experts from regional African blocs.

With the bureau in place, the meeting is set to review strategic documents related to agriculture, rural development, water and environment apart from identifying synergies, linkages and complementarities.

Experts are also examining and internalizing the strategic and operational modalities for coordination mechanisms between the relevant sector ministries at member state level.

The STC, which will comprise ministers from member states of the AU is due to have clear mandate of examining, reviewing and considering adoption of policies and strategic frameworks designed to develop agriculture, water, rural development and environment on the continent, among others.

In her speech, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, the AU commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture urged experts to review emerging guidelines and terms of reference on how to institute and ensure mutual accountability architecture cognizance of country Joint Sector Reviews (JSRs) and the continent-wide Biennial review.

Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture
Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture

She said if this is done delivery of key goals on Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is likely to be achieved.

You will be reviewing the guidelines for establishing and instituting policy plans as was required in the Implementation Strategy and Roadmap for the Malabo Declaration, among others. As you will be told and probably are aware, the Heads of State and Government will be reporting on the agreed commitments starting with the January Summit of 2018,” she explained.

Rhoda Peace added that AU already started the process in the water sector by implementing the Kigali Action Plan coordinated by Rwanda.

“We are seeing concrete results emerging out of this peer review. Also, for other sectors, there is a need for such a robust mechanism at country level in response to the decisions of AU Policy Organs as their implementation for impact must be taken at country level,” said Rhoda Peace.

She further urged experts to embrace working with and harness resources from different organizations and agencies such as Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA), and the corresponding sub-regional organizations, the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other technical and financial partners.

“Work with organizations such as FAO, IFAD, WFP, AfDB, World Bank, USAID, GIZ, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others to achieve our goals for a shared prosperity. There is no doubt that we have an agenda that is full of complex and challenging issues ahead of us.

“Given the caliber and capital of expertise gathered here, I am confident that you will rise up to the challenge of preparing and submitting for consideration by Honourable Ministers, process and substance outcomes that will help effectively deliver on the functions and duties of this important STC,” said Rhoda Peace.

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