Botswana may struggle to overcome some of the challenges faced by the Agricultural sector following the country’s decision not to sign the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.
The Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti said Botswana has not yet signed the Malabo Declaration as it is not an agreement but a political statement of intent.
He said Botswana was part of the Summit in June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea and by their nature, declarations are not signed as they are not agreements but political statements of intent.
When responding to questions asked by Member of Parliament (MP) for Mabutsane/Jwaneng, Mephato Reatile in parliament, the minister said declarations are not signed because they are not agreements but are meant to achieve certain political promises by Heads of State.
Dr Dikoloti said declarations are meant to ensure that the emphasis on delivery does not remain an empty promise. He said Heads of State have agreed to a Biennial Review, at which progress of each individual country is measured in alternating years and against all that the Malabo Declaration is committed to achieve.
“I am glad to report that my Ministry as a host of this process has held multi-sectoral workshops for both the first and second Biennial Reviews, it was one of the 47 of the 55 AU member states that had provided information on their status for the first report.
According to the Malabo scorecard, which the minister relied upon when doing research, titled Assembly of the Union Thirtieth (30th) Ordinary Session 28-19 January 2018, Sunday Standard can reveal that Botswana scored 4.4 out 10 in overall and was labelled to be on track in implementing Malabo Declaration on Agricultural transformation in Africa.
Despite the country being on track, the country is faced with some challenges in some key areas as evidenced by the 2017 country report which was discussed at the 2018 AU meeting.
The results on the “Malabo commitments areas” show that Botswana scored 5.40 out of 10, on re-committing to comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), process and is doing better on that area.
The country scored 3.4 out 10 meaning it is not on track on the area of Enhancing investment in Finance in Agriculture.
The country was also not doing well on, Enhancing resilience to climate variability, as the country scored 4.61 out 10 and was labelled not on track.
The other area which Botswana is not doing well was on “ending hunger” by 2025 as the country scored 2.37 out 10 and was described not on track.
The Union has now recommended Botswana to increase its public expenditure into Agriculture to further boost sector development in line with CAADB target of 10% of national budget.
The country was also recommended to increase government spending sufficiently to cater for resilience building initiatives.
The Union further recommended that the country should have a yearly 100% budget allocation to the social protection requirements for the vulnerable social groups.
The Malabo Declaration provides the direction for Africa’s agriculture transformation for the period 2015 – 2025, within the Framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), as a vehicle to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the First Ten Year Implementation Plan of Africa’s Agenda 2063.
The tracking, monitoring and reporting on implementation progress towards achieving the goals and targets of the Malabo Declaration is an important mechanism to ensure that there is political will, backed by appropriate actions to achieve agricultural growth and transformation on the continent by 2025 for improved livelihoods and shared prosperity for African citizens.
According to the 2018 annual report, out of the forty-seven (47) Member States that reported progress in implementing the Malabo declaration, only twenty (20) reported to be on-track for achieving the commitments by 2025.
Those twenty (20) countries, which obtained the minimum overall score of 3.94 out of 10 to be on track (the 2017 benchmark) for implementing commitments of the Malabo Declaration by 2025, include: Benin (4.3), Botswana (4.4), Burundi (4.7), Burkina Faso (4.2), Cape Verde (4.6), Ethiopia (5.3), Kenya (4.8), Malawi (4.9), Mali (5.6), Mauritania (4.8), Mauritius (5.0), Morocco (5.5), Mozambique (4.1), Namibia (4.1), Rwanda (6.1), Seychelles (4.0), South Africa (4.1), Swaziland (4.0), Togo (4.9), and Uganda (4.5).
From these results, Rwanda has the highest score of 6.1 on Agricultural Transformation in Africa, and is the 2017 best performing country in implementing the seven (7) commitments of the June 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.