Remarks of Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa
UNDP Assistant Administrator and
Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa
on the launch of the joint UNDP-China Case Studies on
Experience and Innovation of China’s Agricultural Assistance in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique
New York, 29 October 2018
United Nations Headqauarters, Conference Room 6
Mr. Ma Zhaoxu - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN
Mr. Deng Boqing - Vice Chairman of China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA),
Ambassador Fernando Delfim da Silva, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau to the United Nations,
Ambassador António Gumende, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Mozambique to the United Nations,
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to join His Excellency Mr. Ma Zhaoxu in welcoming you to today’s event, launching two joint case studies on China’s agricultural assistance programmes with Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.
We are privileged to have Mr. Deng Boqing, Vice Chairperson of the newly-established China International Development Cooperation Agency here present for this occasion, and I would like to thank the Chinese Permanent Mission to the UN for co-hosting the event with UNDP. I also wish to recognize the presence of the Permanent Representatives of Guinea Bissau and Mozambique at this important event. Excellencies, thank you for your strong partnership and support.
Over the past three decades, the world has witnessed tremendous progress in human development. Extreme poverty was cut by close to three-quarters. While Africa has made significant progress, as the UN Secretary-General stated at the UN General Assembly, change is not happening fast enough. 1.3 billion people across the globe – 560 million in Africa - still live in multidimensional poverty. As we know, poverty transcends borders and continents. Therefore, the best way to tackle it is by working together to unlock the vast potential that exists and accelerate progress in sustainable economic and social transformation in ways that leave no one behind.
Partnership and capacity development are important elements of the Means of Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I am pleased to celebrate the spirit of South-South Cooperation—partnership and capacity development in action — we are witnessing today, which is vital in accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Africa’s Agenda 2063 recognizes the importance of promoting investments in agriculture and industrialization to improve the continent’s socio-economic transformation over the 50 years. Specifically, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) emphasizes the need for significant investments and strong partnerships in promoting agriculture and agribusiness development in Africa. In prioritizing agricultural development, the national development plans of Guinea Bissau and Mozambique also reflect the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and CAADP.
The convergence of the implementation of CAADP’s priorities and China’s focus on agricultural transformation, particularly in Guinea Bissau and Mozambique, provide some key principles for accelerating progress in agribusiness to drive Africa’s structural economic transformation namely, the importance of — (i) national leadership and ownership in identifying the right mix of assistance and market-based approaches to boost agricultural productivity and enhance trade and investment; (ii) identifying common priorities as a start in promoting joint research and innovation; (iii) engaging and fostering partnerships with stakeholders and local communities, ensuring initiatives are relevant to promoting economic well-being and livelihoods, to ensure sustainability; and (iv) mobilizing private sector investments to leverage existing public sector initiatives is central to scaling up agri-business initiatives.
I want to underscore some of the additional emerging lessons including building capacity for climate resilience and promoting access to markets. I want to especially commend the willingness of the People’s Republic of China to share their experiences on agricultural transformation with Africa, particularly Guinea Bissau and Mozambique. This excellent initiative should be complemented with technology transfer, enhanced knowledge and experience-sharing in value addition to agricultural products and corridors to accelerate economic diversification and industrialization in Africa.
In Guinea-Bissau, the project worked with local communities and farmers to conduct demonstration, training and extension of rice varieties using modern technology and established good partnership providing incentives to farmers to produce rice. How can China’s agricultural development assistance can better serve partner countries? It should focus on smart agricultural practices which integrates agricultural management and climate change adaptation strategies and where capacity development initiatives combine improvement in farmer skills and competencies to building national institutional capacity for applied agricultural research.
UNDP welcomes these joint assessments, which illustrate China’s commitment to partnerships and capacity development that support the achievement of national development goals and the aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We will continue to facilitate increased South-South Cooperation to help address the financing gaps more sustainably, supporting the full national ownership of partner countries in the process.
UNDP remains committed to supporting agri-business, industrialization and economic transformation. We will build on initiatives such as the UNDP Africa Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme, where we supported the development and expansion of sustainable and inclusive agricultural value chains across the continent, with the aim of raising agricultural productivity and incomes, as well as building capacities to meet quality standards and access to growing domestic and regional markets.
In UNDP, we look forward to seeing our collaboration deepen and grow, particularly in accelerating green revolution and agriculture-led industrialization, through inclusive and affordable special economic zones, business incubation centres and industrial parks, in Africa.