Jonathan Calls For Strengthening Of AU Mechanisms For Conflict Prevention

Jonathan 200.jpg 600President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday in Addis Ababa called for urgent action to strengthen existing African Union mechanisms for the promotion of peace, security and political stability in Africa.

Delivering Nigeria’s Statement on Peace and Security in Africa at the 22ndSummit of African Union Heads of State and Government which opened in the Ethiopian capital today, President Jonathan said that while the recent crises in South Sudan and the Central African Republic have reinforced the urgency of establishing the proposed African Capacity for Immediate
Response to Crises (ACIRC), instruments within the current African Peace and security Architecture must, in the interim, be activated to prevent the degeneration of conflicts into warfare.

“Although we have agreed on the establishment of the ACIRC as an interim arrangement, pending the operationalization of the African Standby Force by 2015, it must be said that the present situation provides us the opportunity to review the existing mechanisms for conflict prevention in order to make them very effective.

“Mechanisms such as the Continental Early Warning System, the Panel of the Wise and the Military Staff Committee, have not been adequately utilized to achieve the objectives for which they were established. It is important to note that their timely intervention in situations of emerging conflict, will contribute in preventing conflagration. The reconstitution of the
Panel of the Wise provides us the opportunity to re-energise the body with men and women of cognate experience in peace-building and mediation.

“We should not allow the recent economic gains that Africa is making to be frittered away. As we articulate our Agenda 2063, the entrenchment of sustainable peace and security should be a major preoccupation if we are to achieve the Africa of our dream and be able to bequeath to future generations an Africa that is peaceful, buoyant, strong and a leading player in world affairs,” President Jonathan said.

The President told the gathering that in furtherance of its commitment to the promotion of peace and security in Africa, Nigeria will host an International Conference on Peace and Security in Abuja as part of its Centenary Celebrations on February 27, this year.

“The Summit will provide the opportunity for discussing the present critical issue of insecurity in our continent and proffer practical ideas and approaches for confronting it. I have already extended invitations to you, Your Excellencies and I look forward to receiving you in Abuja,” he told the gathering of African Heads of State and Government.

Says Nigeria Ready To Share Its Successes In Boosting Food Production With Other African Countries

President Goodluck Jonathan declared Thursday in Addis Ababa that a total of about $11 Billion U.S. Dollars has been invested in Nigeria’s agricultural sector by private investors and development partners since the Federal Government launched the country’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2011.

Speaking at a session of the ongoing 22nd Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government dedicated to the consideration of measures to boost agricultural production and food security in Africa, President Jonathan urged other African countries to emulate Nigeria’s decision to treat agriculture as a viable business and not “a development programme”, which,
he said, was yielding positive benefits for the country.

“Over 65% of the arable land left to feed 9 billion people in the world is in Africa. We must not depend on others to feed our continent. We must feed ourselves, and do so with pride because Africa cannot be truly free, until it can feed itself.

“Greater priority must continue to be given to food security. But for this to happen, we must change how we view agriculture. Africa must end decades of treating agriculture as a development programme. We must focus on value chains, stop exporting raw materials, and instead focus on high-value-added products.

“That is why Nigeria is strongly pursuing an aggressive programme to unlock the vast potentials of its agricultural sector. Nigeria launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2011, with the goal of increasing our domestic food production by an additional 20 million MT and creating 3.5 million jobs by 2015.

“So much has been achieved since then. To ensure that our farmers get farm inputs directly, we developed the electronic wallet system, which allows farmers to get their subsidized seeds and fertilizers directly via electronic coupons on their mobile phones.

“Within two years, 6 million farmers have received their farm inputs directly via their mobile phones. Our farmers produced an additional 16 million metric tons of food, which is over 70% of our target of 20 million metric tons for 2015.

“This has improved the food security of 30 million persons in farm households. We expect to reach 10 million farmers with the electronic wallet by this year, which will improve the food security of 50 million persons.

“Our approach of treating agriculture as a business is paying off. About five billion US dollars has come from our local private sector into fertilizer manufacturing. An additional four billion US dollars has come in from private sector in the agricultural value chains. Development partners have put in close to two billion US dollars in support of Nigeria’s
Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

“Nigeria is ready to share its successful experience with other countries, so that this novel approach can be used all across Africa to empower farmers,” President Jonathan told the gathering of African Heads of State and Government.

The President also called for a continent-wide affirmative action in support of women farmers, declaring that Africa must give greater recognition to the role of women farmers and evolve new policies to support them.

“As the African Union embarks on this Year of Agriculture, we must recognize the role of our women farmers, and evolve bold policies to support them. Agriculture is the future for Africa and that future can only be secured if we do more to support women farmers,” he concluded.

The African Union has declared 2014 as The Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa and the 22nd summit of African Union Heads of State and Government has “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development” as its theme.

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