Africa

Africa: To get the future we say we want, we’ve got to get rid of corruption

08 Dec 2016 by Njoya Tikum, ‎UNDP Africa Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor

One just needs to look at the newspaper headlines across Africa to see the continent’s struggle with corruption: South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, all have seen corruption and bribery rise recently. According to the latest Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, “not a single country, anywhere in the world, is corruption-free”. But in sub-Saharan Africa, people in 40 out of 46 countries think theirs has a serious corruption problem. Africa has lost over USD 1 trillion to illicit financial flows over the last 50 years, as reported the African Union’s high level panel on illicit financial flows (IFFs), led by South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki. This is roughly equivalent to all the official development assistance the continent received during the same timeframe. According to the panel, companies and government officials are illegally moving as much as USD 60 billion out of Africa each year. From high-level political abuse to harassment by police officers, teachers, doctors or customs officials, corruption drains countries of resources, stifles small businesses and hampers education and healthcare. Together with lack of accountability and transparency, it is the most harmful barrier to development in Africa. … Read more

Agricultural Productivity in Resource-Rich African Countries

05 Dec 2016 by Degol Hailu and Chinpihoi Kipgen

It is a fair to assume agricultural productivity is higher in resource-rich countries. This is because revenues from the sale of oil, gas and minerals can finance the provision of equipment, fertilizer, irrigation, credit and seed to farmers. However, agricultural productivity continues to remain modest in many of Africa’s resource exporting countries. Why? Between 2003 and 2013, agricultural output in resource-dependent countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) actually grew at an average annual rate of 3.6%, slightly higher than the 2.7% growth rate experienced by the rest of SSA. Annual agricultural output growth rates in Angola, Cameroon and Zambia, for instance, averaged higher than 6% and were among the world’s highest growth rates. A closer look at the use of production inputs, however, indicates that much of the growth in agricultural output has been achieved by increasing the size of cultivated land and not productivity. Cropland grew at an annual rate of 2.6%, reaching a total of 103 million hectares compared to 83 million hectares in the previous decade. Although the stock of farm machinery (in 40-CV tractor equivalents) is estimated to have increased by 18.6%, farm machines per 1,000 hectares of arable land have remained at less than 4. This figure … Read more

Climate and weather respect no borders, so investing in regional climate services is a must

01 Dec 2016 by Excellent Hachileka, Programme Specialist in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Cluster, UNDP Africa

The recent El Nino and La Nina phenomena have affected millions of people across several countries, and key climate-reliant sectors such as agriculture, water resources, energy and infrastructure have been impacted. Developing countries in Africa are among the most affected by climate change impacts, and yet remain among the least prepared to respond or cope when disaster strikes. One of the reasons is the lack of effective climate services, the collective term for collection, analysis, distribution and application of reliable weather, water and climate information used for early warning and to manage a disaster once it has occurred. Recognising this gap, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in partnership with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) initiated national Climate Outlook Forums (COF) in the 1990s. Given the cross-border nature of weather and climate, Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) were also set up within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to deliver regional seasonal climate forecasts to governments for development planning and disaster risk management. The forums bring together climate scientists and experts, forecasters and climate information users such as farmers unions and local authorities, to formulate consensus-based climate outlook guidance and to discuss the implications of probable climate outcomes for climate-sensitive sectors. They … Read more