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Weathering the Storm: Agricultural Development, Investment, and Poverty in Africa Following the Recent Food Price Crisis

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At the national level, dozens of African countries have pledged to implement the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU). This African-led plan aims to stimulate agriculture on the continent to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1) of halving poverty and hunger by 2015. To do so, countries are expected to pursue 6 percent average annual agriculture growth at the national level, allocate 10 percent of national budgets to the agricultural sector, and improve overall policy efficiency through peer-review and accountability. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate trends in agricultural development, performance, and spending in Africa and to track corresponding progress in key poverty and hunger indicators following the recent food price crisis. The reason for tracking this information is that the recent food price crisis has the potential to derail the progress made toward reducing poverty and hunger in many African countries. This paper draws on policy research results in the literature to highlight some of the strategic policy options available to African governments for accelerating agricultural growth in line with the principles of CAADP. In this regard, the paper provides information on CAADP’s agenda by reviewing the progress of implementation and performance against a number of key benchmarks.

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