The challenge facing Africa is exceptional. The cost of failure would be appalling. An immense effort will be needed to involve the whole population in this commitment: people's empowerment and the principle of accountability in all fields, especially those that have engendered the African crisis. The partici-pation of the people in the recovery and development process should be broadened and made more effective, particularly through promoting increased access to development resources and benefits, creating favourable conditions for decentralized decision making and encouraging greater entrepreneurship at all levels. Parti-cular attention should be given to the control of population growth, to domestic economic management, effective mobilization and utilization of human and natural resources. Special attention also needs to continue to be given to rationalization of public investment policies, protection of the environment, improve-ment of international competitiveness, agrarian structures and diversification of production, and improvement of policy design and implementation in general with a view to meeting the food security challenges of the 1990s in an environmentally sustainable manner.

The twin objectives of protecting the environment and improving the living standards of the rural poor are compatible as long as there is an in-depth look at the economic, human and technological prerequi-sites for sustainable development in a constant and comprehensive manner. Furthermore, recognizing that the gap between developed and developing countries is accounted for by technology, behaviour and research more than anything else, research effort in this direction must emphasize science and technology for food security, food self-sufficiency and food consumption patterns. The objective of food self-sufficiency must be realized if we want to solve, among others, the external debt problem. African industry should be based on agriculture and local consumption, e.g., agricultural machinery, processing, transportation equipment, etc. If there is no progress in agriculture (including agro-industry) - Africa's largest sector, there will be no progress in Africa.

In all the above issues, Africa must do all it can to establish a solid common ground and cooperation, as individually the countries are too weak either in population or purchasing power. Interdependence is a sign of maturity and cooperation is essential for survival. This is the spirit of the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community. Even the stronger countries are coming together economically, politi-cally, militarily and scientifically. An African common market, for example, will reinforce the region's position in trade negotiations with the rest of the world. Hence, there is a need also for policy and planning to be undertaken at the subregional level {the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States (PTA), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Southern African Economic Community (SADC), etc.)} institutional framework should be strengthened by having a strong core of planners and analysts working closely with the national planning and programming structures. Efforts at the subregional level should aim at identifying areas that are amenable to coordination among countries, e.g., food security and food self-sufficiency, research, agricultural policies and technology, natural resources development and management, trade and so on. The aim would be to minimize distortions and failures caused by lack of economic policy coordina-tion across national boundaries and to maximize the efficiency of investment and production through increased trade and the relatively free flow of the factors of production, e.g., capital and labour across national boundaries. Indeed, regional cooperation must become an integral part of national policy making and planning process. One still sees the current economic groupings as falling short of the real needs of the African people.

If a sustainable balance between Africa's food production including agro-industries and food needs, food security and food self-sufficiency (as opposed to food demand) is to be achieved in the coming years, five crucial pillars must be built, namely:

Pillar 1. Quality economic growth and appropriate economic policies must resume in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan Africa;

Pillar 2. Effective policies to control population growth and to slow rural-to-urban migration must be adopted;

Pillar 3. Resources must be committed to development of rural infrastructure, to continuation of international and national agricultural research and to provision of credit and technical assistance to give farmers access to modern inputs;

Pillar 4. Measures must be developed to manage natural resources and to prevent environmental degradation; and

Pillar 5. appropriate measures (including political will and political commitment) must be firmly taken for regional economic cooperation and integration within the framework of the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community which now embodied the FAO assisted Common African Agricultural Programme (CAAP).

The most important impediment to the realization of the above long-term domestic policy objectives is the danger of succumbing to the temptations of short-term gains and momentary political dividends. Furthermore, none of the above measures will go far, nor will much external aid be forthcoming unless the industrial world changes its consumption patterns (which will take time and will not to cut the external aid segment of government consumption), but more specifically, unless governance in Africa improves; not to mention the unpalatable reality that in the 1990s Africa will be living in a capital- scarce world economy. Already the aid tap has been turned down to a trickle; and it is not going to be turned on again for a long time.

Table 1.

1 Total domestic utilization includes direct use for food, animal feed, seeds and other non-food uses, and allowance for waste. The trend estimate of per capita consumption of each commodity is projected using elasticity estimates and trend income growth (1966-1980). Projections from a 1986 study are revised for changes in United Nations population projections.

2 Based on extrapolation of country trends of aggregate major food staples (with non-cereals in cereal equivalent), drawn from 1961-85 data; assumes zero growth during 1985-2000 for countries with negative trends. L.A. Paulino, Food in the Third World, Research Report No. 52, IFPRI, Washington, D.C., June 1986; FAO, "Production yearbook tape, 1986", Rome, 1987; United Nations, World Population Prospects (as assessed in 1984), 1986.

Table 2.

a Simple average of maize and sorghum.
b Refers to beans; for roasted, 0 per cent and for coffee extracts, 1.4 per cent.
c Refers to beans; for butter, 0.5 per cent; for powder, 0.8 per cent and for chocolate,
1.8 per cent.
d Refers to leaves; for cigarettes, 0.1 per cent and for cigars, 0.8 per cent.
e Refers to butter.
f Refers to beef, veal and sheep meat, for other meats, 3.1 per cent.
g Refers to all oilseeds.
h Refers to beef, veal and sheep meat.
j Refers to all vegetable oils.
... Not available.

Table 3.

Table 4.

Table 5.

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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