By Tiri Masawi
Windhoek – Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and International Relations Minister Neitumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah says agriculture and food security are key pillars of any sustainable development initiatives and will continue to command the attention of the government.
Delivering the 2020 Theo Ben Gurirab Memorial Lecture, whose focus was on using multilateralism to cement food security, Deputy PM Nandi-Ndaitwah said food security and its link to natural resources and rural development featured in just about every aspect of Namibia’s national development goals and its international commitments to SADC, African Union and United Nations programmes.
“Through focusing on rural development, where most the world’s extreme poor are living, establishing social protection systems, building rural-urban linkages and focusing on boosting the incomes of the critical agents of change smallholder family and communal farmers, foresters, fisher folk, rural women and youth is key to achieving inclusive and equitable growth while tackling the root causes of poverty.
“Furthermore, as a member of the African Union, Namibia is party to the AU’s strategy and long-term vision of the creation of an African Economic Community as enshrined in the Abuja Treaty of 1991. The Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program or CAADP is the framework for the African agriculture to contribute towards the aspirations of an African Economic Community by 2025. At a continent-wide level, school feeding is receiving increasingly high-level political support and commitment,” she said.
She said the AU’s Comprehensive Africa Development Programme and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development both emphasised the importance of food security and nutrition to development.
The Deputy PM continued: “The Malabo Declaration signed by the African Union in 2014 through one of its goal “Ending hunger in Africa by 2025” also promotes the consumption of locally produced foods and school feeding programmes that source foods from local farmers and producers. 6 Further, in January 2016, African Ministers of Education adopted the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-2025), as the framework for transformative education and training system in Africa and endorsed the adoption of Home-Grown School Feeding as a strategy to improve education, boost local economies and smallholder agriculture and advance the SDGs.”
“Namibia has taken steps to promote dialogue with a view to developing its strategy for attaining the Zero Hunger challenge posed by both the SDGs and the Malabo Declaration and to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in the AU continental framework. The political will exists to fully integrate Namibia into the AU/continental process as expounded in the Malabo Declaration.
“Namibia therefore needs to strengthen its engagement with the African Union and the NEPAD Agency for Planning and Coordination (NPCA) along with partners like FAO, WFP, IFAD, the World Bank and relevant bilateral partners to ensure that, using it existing frameworks, synergies can be developed to align its strategies for achieving zero hunger and to eradicate poverty,” she said.