Stories tagged: principle 2

The Africa Partnership Forum’s 2010 Strategy Prioritises Food Security and Climate Change

On 25th January, the 13th session of the Africa Partnership Forum (APF) was held in Addis Ababa to discuss the outcomes of the international summits of 2009, and the prospects for economic growth in Africa in 2010.  The APF, whose members consist of African leaders, the G8, the OECD and other development partners, is concerned with strengthening partnerships in favour of Africa’s development. In light of the economic crisis, food security issues and climate change, delegates warned that there is an increased need for action at national, regional and global levels.  In the joint statement, the Forum specified the following as essential incentives to put into action:

Designating food security as one of the top priorities for development aid in 2010, the Forum affirmed their commitment to seeing through the promises made in 2009, including: 

  • The L’Aquila pledge made by G8 leaders of $20 billion to boost food supplies to poorer nations, and help countries develop their own agriculture.
  • Continued support to CAADP, to boost agricultural productivity in Africa, through land and water management, market access, food supply and research. 
  • The Maputo agreement made by African leaders to allocate 10% of their national budgets to agriculture.

Combating climate change, the Forum agreed, was critical to achieving sustainable development and poverty reduction, and in particular for resolving the current food insecurity issues. Looking ahead to 2010, the Forum reiterated the actions agreed upon at Copenhagen, including:

  • A reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 to prevent global temperatures increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Advancements in technological transfers and capacity-building.
  • Immediate disbursement of short-term funding of $30 billion and further work undertaken to secure long-term funding of $100 billion a year.

The Forum also addressed development finance and healthcare in Africa, as key areas that have been greatly affected by the financial crisis.  Advocating for a sustained political effort during 2010, the Forum stressed the need to readdress policies for development finance over the next five years. With regards to healthcare, they proposed an increase in investment in Africa’s health systems. Finally, the Forum finalised the AU/NEPAD Africa Action Plan, which aims to maximise the investment in African development from 2010-2015, in an effort to help Africa get back on track to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Wireless Reach Programme Looks to Bring Phones to Rural Farmers in Indonesia

Although research into agricultural development is extensive, and markets continually evolve, this information doesn’t often reach the farmers who could benefit most from it.

In remote areas of many developing countries, lack of access to telecommunications means that farmers either struggle to keep up-to-date market and agronomic information, or they are forced to spend time and money in travelling to access this information, taking away from the already scarce time they have to work on the farm.

Wireless Reach is a scheme that aims to bridge communications gaps such as these, by bringing wireless technology to developing communities around the world.  The project, run by international telecommunications company Qualcomm, not only connects rural communities to the outside world but also offers a source of livelihood for those involved.

One of Wireless Reach’s latest projects has been to partner with the Grameen Foundation to determine the feasibility of introducing wireless phones in Indonesia.

The idea is simple and has already been successful in several other countries. A micro-loan is offered to a local person whose community has no telephone connection.  This person then uses the loan to acquire a village phone kit and service plan, taking on the role of Village Phone Operator (VPO).  The rest of the community can then purchase minutes from the VPO: they benefit from access to affordable telecoms service, whilst the VPO is able to manage a sustainable ICT business.

Thanks to initiatives like this, more farmers are accessing information about weather, crops and pest control from their own remote villages, so that they can make better-informed farming decisions. Furthermore, being kept up to date with market information allows farmers to receive accurate pricing information and market their crops to buyers.