African summit : Nations focus on conflict instead of agriculture

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) The 22nd summit of the 54-nation African Union took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, two weeks ago with few results in meeting the continent’s problems.

The subject was to be how to improve agriculture and food security in Africa. Discussion instead turned largely on the conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Mali, with other violent instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea Bissau, Egypt, Nigeria and Somalia as background.

Increased agricultural production and corresponding food insecurity received short shrift, with shortfalls from previous pledges being attributed — correctly — to insufficient government and private funding, weak rural infrastructure and inadequate government and private attention to research. Pledges were made to do better, with pleas for more international aid included.

African nations have provided United Nations and AU peacekeeping forces for some of the conflicts, notably in the C.A.R., Mali and Somalia, financed almost entirely by France, the United States and other external donors. The European Union pledged another $34 million for those efforts at the Ethiopia conference. Read more…

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