Introducing the Africa CSA Alliance (ACSAA)

by Martin Bwalya, Head of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in the NEPAD Agency

The AU-NEPAD-iNGO Alliance for Scaling-Up Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) in Africa (‘Africa CSA Alliance’) is continuing to make progress towards its goal of empowering 6 million farm households in Africa by 2021. Following its official launch on 25 June 2014 at the African Heads of State Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the Africa CSA Alliance has been engaged in a critical design and consultative phase.

The Africa CSA Alliance is developing a platform upon which to promote and support the uptake and practice of CSA practices among smallholder farmers. The tangible results of the ACSAA will simultaneously contribute to the AU-NEPAD ‘Vision 25:25’ – a broader goal aiming to support 25 million farm households by 2025.

Climate change along current trends will greatly increase the number of people who are hungry and malnourished and will disproportionately affect the world’s poorest rural communities. Across Africa, the increasing impacts of climate change threaten the productivity and reliability of agriculture and undermine the efforts to progress development across the continent. With 80% of Africa’s population working as small-scale producers, climate change poses a massive threat to local food production and family livelihoods and wellbeing – resulting in widespread malnutrition, chronic hunger, and persisting poverty – and exacerbating challenges relating to health, education and economic development.

Recognising that the enormity of the problem requires the combined efforts of all major stakeholders and decision-makers, key international and African leaders across government, multilateral, private and non-profit sectors are working together to support the innovative Africa CSA Alliance. The founding members of the Alliance alongside the AU-NEPAD include major iNGO partners: CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, Concern Worldwide, Oxfam and World Vision; and research and technical partners: the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) – Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research Program (CCAFS), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), and the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA).

With the knowledge that food and nutrition insecurity, poverty, marginalization and climate change are closely linked, the ACSAA is committed to generating sustainable benefits through a farmer-led and inclusive approach that will strengthen the capacity of local systems and resources in agriculture, whilst also supporting the efforts of National governments. To achieve this shared vision, the ACSAA will provide a platform through which bilateral and multilateral agencies and the private sector can engage with, and invest in, massive-scale programs which support the scaling-up of CSA.

With a focus on action, and tangible results, The ACSAA has begun in-country dialogues with governments and other key stakeholders in the first three countries developing scaling-up programs: Ethiopia, Niger and Zambia. It is the ACSAA’s intention to support the scaling-up and practice of CSA across the African continent, beginning with the regions of greatest need and opportunity for impact.

Key representatives of the ACSAA will be participating in the UN Climate Week in New York. At 10am Monday 22 September, the eve of the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit , the Africa CSA Alliance will hold a side event at the Hilton Hotel, with special guests President John Kufuor, Dr. Ibrahim A. Mayaki and Her Excellency Rhoda Peace Tumusiime. This presents a significant opportunity to interact and share Africa’s efforts, initiatives and strategies to scale-up CSA, and is open to parties interested in learning more about the ACSAA. We hope to see you there.

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