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Africa and its Development Partners Need a Holistic Approach to Enhancing Food Security

Despite both the 2003 Maputo and 2014 Malabo Declarations of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP)—in which African governments agreed to spend 10 percent of their annual budgets on agriculture—most spend less than 5 percent on average. Much of this expenditure goes to subsidy programs rather than to agricultural R&D and extension services, even though the latter generates higher economic returns. Unequal access to land and water resources, low levels of mechanization, and insufficient electricity and road infrastructure are other constraints to the sector’s productivity. In 2023, African governments and their development partners should revisit the importance of these issues, while also adopting a more holistic approach to enhancing food security: Food system transformation. This approach aims to transform food production in a way that fosters inclusive job creation while promoting both environmental sustainability and better nutrition outcomes, thereby building on priorities that African governments themselves identified for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.