| The Courier- N°143 - Jan-Feb 1994 Dossier: Fighting poverty Country Report : Niger |
CTA's experience with PROGEFIA
by M.-J. JEHL
Training in order to strengthen human and institutional capacities has become a very important part of development activities in the Third World. With the changing of the working environment and the rapid evolution of technologies, even educated people need further opportunities to build up their skills. Even the most brilliant scientist or information specialist is no exception and needs to improve and update the necessary knowledge and master the new techniques required to be efficient.
Unless information is used effectively and information units are properly organised, the development of the rural sector in the less developed countries, especially in the ACP states, cannot be sustained.
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), which was set up under the LomÃ© Convention, contributes to agricultural and rural development by providing the ACP countries with better access to scientific and technical information on agricultural research and rural development Its mandate lays stress on the integration of information into development strategies in ACP states.
The Centre's aim is to develop the ACP's own capacity to produce, acquire and transfer agricultural, scientific and technical information. To achieve this, it relies on a regional and national information network which is steadily being established. The development of such a network requires a greater investment in the training of agricultural information specialists.
It has been noted that the major constraints in developing information and documentation infrastructures in ACP countries are the lack of qualified human resources and the high level of staff turnover. Many agricultural information professionals have difficulties in applying their professional knowledge to their work situation as their educational background does not match the requirements. In addition, their institutions are not sufficiently geared to furthering staff development in information services.
To overcome these constraints, the Centre has set up various training courses to meet the immediate needs of agricultural information officers so that they are better equipped to handle users' requests and to organise and manage documentation centres.
First, several workshops on 'Agricultural Information Sources' were held for French-speaking African countries, in Senegal (1986), for English-speaking African countries, in Malawi (1987) and, for the Caribbean region, in Trinidad and Tobago (1988). These courses were designed to develop the participants' capacity to manage the various aspects of documentation (research, collection, processing and dissemination) and to give them a better understanding of their role as purveyors of information.
After 1988, following the recommendations of Harry East's (FID) evaluation of CTA courses, the Centre embarked on a series of courses on 'Management of Agricultural Information Services'. These were held in Zambia (1989), Jamaica (1990) and Cameroon (1991). The main aim of these courses was to develop the participants' management techniques as well as their ability to justify and implement a programme for the development of users' services or of necessary organisational changes.
Like many other institutions, CTA considers that there is a need to restructure training opportunities so as to meet the demands for training from ACP countries, avoid redundancies and use the available resources in a rational way.
A meeting on international cooperation in the training of agricultural librarians and documentalists, held in Rome in June 1988 at the invitation of CTA, recommended the drawing up of a general programme for education in agricultural information which could serve as a platform for a collective effort aimed at overcoming these obstacles.
In 1989, in accordance with this recommendation, CTA carried out a study of a training programme entitled the 'General Programme for Training in Agricultural Information'(PROGEFIA). This proposes a long-term master plan for education in agricultural information in the developing countries and especially in the ACP states.
The provision of specialised education for the various categories of personnel who contribute to agricultural information activities in these countries is limited and there are many obstacles to its efficiency.
The main sets of information functions are identified for the various categories of staff in three major groups: information producers/users, computer specialists and information specialists. Fourteen general education modules, whose objectives, levels and contents are outlined, have been defined. Five are about management of information services and resources, six are about organisation, processing and utilisation of information, and three are about computer applications, including a module for instructor training.
Five modules, including the one for instructor training, and a number of specific sub-modules, have been given priority as they are considered to meet the most pressing needs of the national agricultural information systems.
Most of the training is directly relevant to the routine activities of information officers. Admission should be linked to agreements between the participants, the organisations to which they belong and the organisations offering the education, with a view to ensuring that staff turnover is low and that the minimum conditions required for putting the acquired skills into practice are created by carrying out previously specified operations in the framework of developing agricultural information systems.
The implementation of PROGEFIA will require annual consultation between educational institutions specialising in agricultural information and centres for practical training which are willing to cooperate in order to develop their activities on the lines laid down by PROGEFIA. The action plan for the next five years covers the following areas:
- priority for short, specialised courses in information processing, microcomputing and management of information services and products;
- surveys of information needs: all relevant institutions must define their information needs and examine ways of participating in the plan at national and regional levels;
- production of teaching materials and directories to support training in agricultural information;
- instructor training;
- regular consultation, on an annual basis, with the major contributors such as EIB/ACCT (Ecole Internationale de Bordeaux), CAB International, CIRAD (Centre de coopÃ©ration international en recherche agronomique pour le dÃ©veloppement), the University of Botswana, EBAD (Ecole des bibliothÃ©caires, archivistes et documentalistes, Senegal) and IDRC (International Development Research Centre), to discuss and consider methods of interaction and cooperation.
CTA's activities within PROGEFIA
Since the consultation in Gabon, CTA has held several short training courses, produced a directory, undertaken regional needs assessments and assisted in the development of academic programmes in agricultural information.
Short-term training courses
Micro-computing: In view of the rapid development of new technologies in information, training in the use of microcomputers in the management of agricultural information is clearly a priority. The objectives of such courses are to make participants conversant with the process and methods of building information resources, to develop their skills in creating and maintaining information storage and retrieval systems relevant to their users, and to improve their skills in developing and managing relevant information products and services. The courses, held between 1990 and 1993, were divided into two modules of four weeks each. Between the modules, the participants had one year to apply their knowledge to their jobs and to link it with practical experience - which is crucial to any approach to database management - before attending the advanced module the following year.
Management and marketing of information: A number of courses in this area are planned for this year. The main aim of the training is to improve the ability of information officers to arrange and manage their centres for maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness. It includes courses in information product management, assessment of users' needs and information marketing techniques.
Processing of agricultural documentation and information: Training sessions on basic information processing and handling of documents are offered on a regular basis to documentation units whose staff have no professional qualifications or technical skills.
In the Pacific region, the long distances between countries make it more appropriate for the requisite training courses to be conducted on a national rather than a regional level. Each year, CTA supports a few short workshops organised by IRETA (the Institute for Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture, which operates in the Pacific region).
All the courses described above are oriented towards the trainees' needs. The courses are tailored to fit the trainees' specific work situation and environment, as most agricultural information professionals expect solutions to their immediate, everyday problems. Emphasis is placed on practical, problem-solving approaches rather than theory. Participants will be able to apply their newly-acquired knowledge on their jobs. The training provides short-term payoffs by increasing the performance of the workers at all levels.
Directories and teaching materials
CTA has produced a directory of Information Resources in the Training of Agricultural Information', in collaboration with the IDS (Institute of Development Studies) in the United Kingdom. The aim of the directory is to document existing resources to facilitate the identification of future trainers.
Publications on the creation and management of an agricultural information library have been published jointly with SATIS (Socially Appropriate Technology Information System) in the Netherlands and IRETA in the Pacific. These are available to agricultural information specialists.
Assessments of users' needs
Over the last three years, CTA has carried out various regional studies on information needs in the agricultural sectors in Central, Western and Eastern Africa. Training ranks high among the priority requirements identified through these studies. Two other studies were already available for Southern Africa and the Caribbean. The results of these studies are complemented by recommendations from participants at previous CTA courses, and by interviews and group discussions with information personnel during regional or international meetings.
Development of academic programmes
With CTA's support, the University of Botswana undertook a preparatory study for setting up a programme leading to a certificate in agricultural information. The needs were assessed and a proposal prepared for the Board of the University. The first such course is being offered this year.
Since 1990, two consultations have taken place at CTA with PROGEFIA partners. The next one will be held in November 1994 and the central theme will be the training of trainers.
In future, the Centre will be directing its energy to the training of potential instructors. It is hoped that these instructors will then take on the task of analysing the training needs in their countries or regions, translating these needs into training programmes and developing their knowledge in order to organise, manage and evaluate such programmes.
In 1992, a consultation on instructor training was held in Dakar, Senegal. This brought together 36 specialists in training and agricultural information to discuss a plan of action, formulate specific objectives, identify curricula and adopt teaching methods as well as to identify the resources needed (professional expertise, institutions, equipment etc.) and suggest evaluation techniques and follow-up activities.
A second meeting will be held at EIB, France, at the end of April 1994, to translate the recommendations of the Senegal consultation into a coherent training programme, including tuition and production of training material for the following two years.
Over the past seven years, CTA has managed to train more than 250 agricultural information officers on the various regional courses mentioned above. Yet this is a drop in the ocean considering the real demand. The Centre is increasingly feeling the need to scale up its efforts in training by building up national capacity to take over some of the training at a local level.
This new move will create conditions in which the impact of training can quickly be increased. New seeds of knowledge will be sown that will be able to take root, grow and reproduce themselves It is up to each of the newly trained instructors to make this newly planted capital of knowledge fruitful in his or her own country. The long-term consequence is that a wider audience will be reached on a sustainable basis as the knowledge will trickle down and spread on a national level.
EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT FUND
Following, where required, favourable opinions from the EDF Committee, the Commission has decided to provide grants and special loans from the 5th, 6th and 7th EDFs to finance the following operations (grants unless otherwise stated):
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Swaziland: ECU 1.1m for equipment improvements and expanded accommodation at the Vocational and Commercial Training Institute (VOCTIM) in Matsapha.
Kenya: ECU 0.385m to upgrade and extend a clinic in Nairobi specialising in the treatment of AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases.
Mali: ECU 1.989m to improve village water infrastructures.
Fiji: ECU 1.135m to rebuild the Vunidawa and Korovou bridges.
Sierra Leone: ECU 7m for water supplies and the improvement of hygiene in the rural communities of five regions in the Northern Province.
Guyana: ECU 4.5m for the second phase of the New Amsterdam water supply project.
Chad: ECU 8.3m for a village water project involving the sinking of new boreholes, rehabilitation of existing wells and, in time, the building of new wells.
Congo: ECU 10m to support the implementation of the national sanitary development programme.
Chad: ECU 7m for the upgrading and maintenance of rural roads, with a view to facilitating the transport of cotton.
Benin: ECU 16m as a contribution to the cost of rebuilding the Parakou-Djougou road.
Gabon: ECU 11 m to support the rehabilitation of the national health system.
Somalia: ECU 38m for the rehabilitation programme.
Suriname: ECU 4.5m, of which ECU 1.8m is in the form of a loan, for resurfacing a section of the main coast road linking the capital with the eastern frontier of Guyana.
Mozambique: ECU 12m for a reconstruction and resettlement programme, the latter being aimed at returning people displaced by the war to their home areas.
Mali: ECU 5m for a development support programme in 11 'secondary' towns in the Segou and Mopti regions.
Mali: ECU 2.9m to help bring about long-term improvements in the availability of drinking water through the provision of 70 supply points, powered by solar pumps, in rural and semi-urban areas.
Mauritius: ECU 7m to improve the irrigation infrastructure on the west coast.
Indian Ocean countries (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros): ECU 3.3m for the complete automation of telecommunications in the region.
Jamaica: ECU 25m (special loan from the Sysmin funds of the 5th EDF, transferred to the 7th EDF) for the upgrading of the sewerage systems of Negril and Ocho Rios.
Cameroon, Central African Republic: ECU 1.5m for a feasibility study in connection with the rehabilitation of the Bertoua-Garoua-Boulai road.
TRADE PROMOTION/STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT
Guinea Bissau: ECU 8m from the structural adjustment facility to support a general import programme. Ethiopia: ECU 75m to support a general import programme.
SADC countries (Angola, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe): ECU 10m for a programme against foot and mouth disease in Southern Africa.
Central African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon): ECU 2m for a regional project in support of the banana research activities of the CRBP (Centre RÃ©gional Bananiers et Plantains) in NyombÃ©, Cameroon.
West African countries (Burkina Faso, CÃ´te d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal): ECU 2.8m to participate in a research programme on the improvement and management of fallow lands.
Burkina Faso: ECU 9.6m for a sectoral livestock support programme.
SADC countries: ECU 1.5m to support the 'EEC-Southern African Mining Forum' organisation.
Mozambique: ECU 1.95m for financial support to Mozambican students in Eastern Europe.
Mali: ECU 6.81m for the battle against desertification and for the development of forest resources in the northern regions of the country.
Botswana: ECU 6.4m, for infrastructure, equipment and technical assistance for the use and protection of natural resources in the centre and south of the country.
Uganda: ECU 1.5m, in the form of equipment, and technical and financial assistance, for the External Aid Coordination Department (EACD) of the Ministry of Finance. Uganda: ECU 1.95m to support the election process for the Constitutive Assembly. Central African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon): ECU 5.5m for the TIPAC (inter-state transit for the countries of Central Africa) regional project, in the form of technical assistance and training for the national TIPAC committees. PALOP countries (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao TomÃ© and Principe): ECU 4.3m for a training programme to be undertaken by CENFA (the Cape Verde national centre for training in public administration).
Burkina Faso: ECU 2m for technical assistance and the provision of services for the Bagre hydro-agricultural scheme. Countries of Southern and Eastern Africa (10 SADC countries - Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe - and three others - Comoros, Uganda and Ethiopia): ECU 4.95m to support the Eastern and Southern Africa Mineral Resources Development Centre (ESAMRDC). The assistance will be in the form of computer facilities, technical assistance and training. Malawi: ECU 3.222m in the form of basic equipment and support for infrastructure and social services (roads, wells and health centres) for Mozambican refugees. Burkina Faso: ECU 1m (Sysmin advance) for urgent assistance to the 'SociÃ©tÃ© de Recherches et d'Exploitation MiniÃ¨res' designed to reduce costs and re-establish production capacity. Pacific ACP States (Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Western Samoa): ECU 5m for a regional project to evaluate and control tuna stocks in the South Pacific.
EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK
Tuvalu: ECU 500 000 to finance investments by SMEs in the manufacturing, agro-industrial, transport, tourism and industry-related service sectors.
Eastern Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines): ECU 3m to support investments in SMEs, principally in the tourist sector.
French Polynesia: ECU 10m for SME projects in the industrial, agro-industrial, fisheries, tourism and productive infrastructure sectors.
Zimbabwe: ECU 37m towards the cost of building a 400 km-long high-tension electricity line linking up with the South African network (from Matimba in the Transvaal, through Botswana, to the western frontier of Zimbabwe).
Zimbabwe: ECU 7m in risk capital to boost the finances of a private sector enterprise (Art Corporation Ltd), aimed at improving production of plastic and paper products.
Eritrea joins LomÃ© Convention
The newly independent state of Eritrea in East Africa has become the 70th ACP State to subscribe to the LomÃ© Convention. The country seceded from Ethiopia, a party to the Convention, and declared its independence on 24 May 1993, but the new government announced that it would abide by the principle that a successor state continues to observe the treaties signed by its predecessor. A decision by the ACP-EC Council of Ministers dated 22 October 1993 has now laid down that the Convention will continue to apply to Eritrea as from 24 May, including those parts of it (Articles 329 to 331) which provide for special treatment for the least-developed ACP States.
Economic and Social Committee issues its Opinion on the LomÃ© IV mid-term review
On 21 October, the Economic and Social Committee of the EU, which brings together representatives of businesses, trade unions and consumers, adopted an 'Opinion' on the subject of the forthcoming mid-term review of LomÃ© IV.
Among its general conclusions, the Committee believes that revision is necessary to take account of the changed international context. It argues, however, that 'every effort should be made at least to maintain the real value of the Community's financial assistance to ACP countries for the second half of the ten-year period.'
As regards specific aspects of the relationship, the ESC endorses the view that it should be possible to reduce or suspend aid in the event of sustained government breaches of human rights, the 'flouting' of free election results or the toppling of freely elected governments by force.' As a corollary to this, it should also be possible to enhance aid in response to progress in democratisation. Particular emphasis is given to the subject of decentralised cooperation, notably as regards encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the ACP States. The ESC also calls for closer control of, and greater transparency in, the procedures for selecting projects and awarding contracts. At the same time, it suggests greater devolution of decision-making from Brussels to the delegations, a process which would require increasing the staff of the latter. Other areas covered in the Opinion include a proposal relating to debt reduction, a suggestion that new settlement procedures be established for dealing with disputes between the partners and a plea for greater leeway for NGOs to undertake small scale projects without the need for prior agreement from the ACP authorities.
Turning point for Economic and Social Partners
The economic and social partners are calling for a greater role in the national development funding programmes (the 'indicative programmes') agreed between the European Community and the ACP countries and have laid down a detailed set of proposals which they hope will be taken up by the ACP-EC Joint Assembly. In their final declaration on 8 December, following three days of discussion, the ACP and EC economic and social partners (the latter being members of the EC's Economic and Social Committee), called for the institutions of the European Union and the governments of the Member States to encourage ACP governments to involve representatives of industry, unions and agriculture in the construction of national economic policies.
The declaration also calls for direct funding for projects in the ACP countries by the European Union, circumventing in certain cases the present intermediary role of the national government of the country concerned. This procedure would take the form of a time-limit for a reply from the national government, after which the European Commission would be able to authorise funding, providing there was no objection from the national government.
The economic and social partners are also demanding a report on past investments by the EC in the ACP countries. They criticised, furthermore, what they saw as a lack of contact between EC delegations in the ACP countries and the local representatives of business, workers, farmers, women's groups and others. The declaration calls for EC delegations to be mandated to facilitate effective decentralised cooperation.
The participants also proposed the creation of a 'Follow-up Committee' comprising 12 ACP and 12 European representatives. The task of this committee would be to ensure that the viewpoint of the economic and social partners was heard by the institutions of the LomÃ© Convention during the negotiations relating to the mid-term review.
The Follow-up Committee would also conduct a trial procedure in six ACP countries aimed at the participation of the economic and social partners in the establishment of cooperation programmes under LomÃ© IV.
The ACP co-rapporteur, Seydou Diarra, who is President of the CÃ´te d'Ivoire Chamber of Commerce stated: 'The European Union and the ACP-EC Joint Assembly have ignored the economic and social partners for too long.'
He added that the declaration was a 'turning point' for them. 'It is the culmination of three years work and is the first concrete and detailed set of proposals since our annual meetings began 17 years ago. S.Y.
The importance of being young
The LomÃ© Convention's contribution to youth went under the microscope at the fourth Assembly of Youth from the EC and ACP countries, held in Brussels on 10-14 October. While their elders were meeting in the Joint Assembly to debate the Convention's revision, the younger generation was emphasising the importance of youth - who make up a significant proportion of the ACP population. At the end of the proceedings, the Assembly adopted the second cooperation programme between youth organisations in the EC and ACP States.
MEPs welcome Commission's ECU 1 billion rehabilitation proposal
The European Parliament's Development Committee has welcomed a proposal from the Commission to allocate ECU 1 billion to a special support programme to restore the economic and social structure of developing countries after crises, wars or major natural disasters. According to the proposal, the European Community would contribute 60% of the rehabilitation funds, with the Member States supplying the remainder. Priority would be given to Africa, where the countries most in need of this type of bridging aid between emergency assistance and long-term development are Somalia, Angola, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia and Mozambique. The Community has already committed ECU 100m to rehabilitation work in Africa this year, but the Development Committee believes that a single emergency programme is not sufficient, and calls for a permanent facility of this type to be established within the Community budget, so that it can be called on at short notice whenever the need arises. At the committee's meeting on 4/S November, its rapporteur on rehabilitation, Sotiris Kostopoulos (Socialist), said there should be better international cooperation in this area, plus more money from the Member States, and that procedures for paying out such aid should be speeded up. Programmes should focus on agricultural production, food security and the rebuilding of basic social infrastructure, and the people living in the countries concerned should be fully involved. Margaret Da/y (European People's Party) added that locally available materials should be used where possible, as a contribution towards sustainable development at a later stage. The initial impetus for rehabilitation measures in Africa came from European NGOs a year ago. A further call for increased funds for rehabilitation came in a report on the situation in Somalia by Luciano Vecchi (Soc.). Maria Luisa Cassanmagnago Cerretti (EPP) insisted that priority go to making sure that basic health, education and training services operated and that farming and herding could be resumed. The committee noted that the civil war was still raging despite the presence of UN peacekeeping forces, and called on the UN Security Council to reconsider its policy and its objectives in Somalia as a matter of urgency. The UN must keep troops there, however, to ensure that humanitarian aid is properly delivered and to help bring about reconciliation - though any political solution to the conflict must be found by the Somalis themselves. The report called on the EC Commission to reopen its office in Somalia and said the Community should use all the unused funds still available under the country's national indicative programme and LomÃ© III to develop those parts of Somalia outside the capital, Mogadishu, where comparative peace prevailed.
At the same meeting, the Development Committee adopted a report by Maria Belo (Soc.) on social protection for volunteer development workers, calling for binding Community legislation which would encourage more qualified young people to volunteer their services in developing countries by guaranteeing them a level of social security coverage while abroad comparable to what they would receive in their home countries. The committee also asked the Commission to investigate ways of setting up a European volunteer service and suggested that work done for it by young people could be treated as an alternative to military service.
At the end of 1992 there were nearly 9000 volunteers from the 12 EC Member States working in the developing countries, primarily in Africa. A survey done in the 1980s showed that 30% of volunteers were couples, often with dependent children, and that four out of five of all volunteers did not renew their contracts because of the serious social insurance problems they faced while overseas. Several hundred volunteers working for NGOs are jointly financed by the EC, but there is no funding for recruiting such workers under the LomÃ© IV Convention, a situation which Parliament believes should be corrected.
In an opinion on energy and development drafted by Marijke Van Hemeldonck (Soc.) the committee said it was assumed that in 20 years' time the developing countries would be using as much energy as the industrialised countries use today. Indeed, the developing countries possess a substantial proportion of the worldwide reserves of traditional sources of energy, including almost half the world's natural gas reserves, But increasing energy consumption poses a threat to the environment, so new technologies need to be developed and introduced to allow a switch to alternative sources of energy, such as biogas produced from slaughterhouse waste, manufactured vegetable oils which can be used in internal combustion engines, geothermic heat, wind and solar energy. In particular, the committee believes that development aid should be put into building up the infrastructure for solar energy, an inexhaustible source which in the near future is expected to meet some 50% of the energy requirements of the developing countries. The use of nuclear power, on the other hand, was fraught with problems, owing to difficulties with safety, reprocessing and storage, the possibility of using fissile material in the arms industry and the unstable political and social situation in a number of developing countries. R.R.
NGOs meet Manuel Marin
A delegation from the Liaison Committee representing the Development NGOs in the European Union met Commissioner Marin on 30 November to discuss, among other things, the mid-term review of the LomÃ© Convention. This was the first meeting to be held in the context of Mr Marin's decision to engage in a more organised and systematic dialogue with the non-governmental organisations. The NGOs subsequently issued a statement setting out some of their views on the future of the LomÃ© system. They agreed that common ground existed between themselves and the Commission regarding the objectives (democracy, human rights, proper management, rapid and flexible procedures, and efficiency) but stressed the need for vigilance in safeguarding the LomÃ©' spirit of partnership'. They also urged that the 'treatment' prescribed to make the Convention more effective should not result in 'killing the patient', and affirmed their desire to continue acting as the 'agents of European public opinion' in the LomÃ© IV discussions.
Denmark leads the field
Denmark may have started the jitters about the Maastricht Treaty, but it also leads the field when it comes to implementing the European single market. A new survey shows that most Member States are badly behind in turning EC single market legislation into the necessary national law. Out of 219 items in the Internal Market White Paper for transposition, only 106 had been brought into force in all 12 Member States - nine months after the official opening of the frontiers! Denmark had already incorporated 94% of the Community legislation required, at the time the study was completed, while Greece, at the bottom of the table, had managed only 77%.
COMMON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY
The European Union has, within the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), recently issued the following statements on events of inter national interest:
Statement on Congo 18 November 1993
The European Union is following with great concern recent developments in the situation in Congo. It particularly deplores the violence and disorder which have caused numerous innocent victims in the capital of the country and have resulted in a climate of insecurity. The European Union appeals to all parties and authorities concerned to show moderation and pursue a constructive dialogue in the spirit of conciliation which marked the Libreville Agreement and with respect for democratic institutions. The European Union reiterates its support for the Libreville Agreement, which it is helping to follow up together with other members of the international community. In this context it is more than ever essential that the international arbitration board dealing with the electoral dispute can carry out its task in complete independence and tranquillity. The European Union considers that all Congolese must make every conceivable effort to ensure that the electoral process is finally brought to a conclusion without disturbance.
Statement on Nigeria 19 November 1993
The European Union condemns the fact that the democratic process in Nigeria has been interrupted through the resumption of power by a military dictatorship, which constitutes a serious setback for both Nigeria and the whole of Africa. It strongly urges the Nigerian military authorities to reestablish democratic institutions with all speed. The European Union has decided to examine without delay the consequences of this regression in the democratic process in Nigeria.
European Economic Area
The agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) which was signed in Oporto on 2 May 1992 by the European Community and its Member States, and by the EFTA countries, entered into force on 1 January 1994. The Agreement creates a unified market, modelled on the EC's Single Market with common rules and conditions of competition, backed up by the necessary machinery and arbitration arrangements.
Of the seven EFTA countries, five (Austria, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) are participating in the agreement. Although originally a signatory, Switzerland was unable to enter the system following the 'no' vote in that country's referendum. The seventh EFTA member, Liechtenstein has close legal and administrative ties with Switzerland which effectively rule out EEA membership in the meantime.
The EEA will radically alter the EU's relationship with the five participating EFTA countries. The 1972 and 1973 Free Trade Agreements were essentially concerned with the elimination of customs duties on industrial products. The EEA Agreement goes further, establishing the 'four freedoms' laid down by the Treaty of Rome relating to the movement of goods, persons, capital and labour. The five EFTA countries will, with certain exceptions, adopt existing Community legislation relating to these freedoms although transition periods are allowed in certain sectors. Special arrangements for agriculture, fisheries and transport are laid down in bilateral agreements.
The EFTA Surveillance Authority will monitor application of the EEA rules in the participating EFTA countries and the EFTA Court will have jurisdiction.
In addition to implementing the four freedoms, the EEA Agreement aims to strengthen and expand the ECU's relations with the participating EFTA countries by a process of extensive and balanced cooperation:
- in fields relating to economic activity which directly affect the four freedoms - the so-called 'horizontal' policies, including social policy, consumer protection, the environment, statistics and company law;
- in areas subject to Community 'flanking' policies outside the four freedoms, in the form of EFTA particapation in Community programmes, projects and actions concerning research and development, the environment, social policy, information services, education, training and youth, small and medium sized enterprises, tourism, the audiovisual sector and civil protection.
In the interests of narrowing the social and economic disparities within the EEA, the partiapating countries are setting up a financial mechanism to provide assistance in the form of interest-rate subsidies and grants to the poorer regions of the EU.
The Agreement establishes permanent arrangements allowing the EFTA countries to be informed and consulted throughout the gestation of Community acts in order to facilitate their application to the whole EEA. Rules are laid down for surveillance and implementation, dispute settlement and arbitration.
The EEA's institutional framework consists of the EEA Council, responsible for giving political impetus to the implementation of the Agreement and laying down general guidelines, the EEA Joint Committee, whose work should contribute to closer mutual understanding between the Community and EFTA countries, and the EEA Consultative Committee, a forum for contacts between representatives of the social partners.
African elected to be new Director-General of FAO
In the course of its conference, which was held in Rome from 6 to 25 November, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) elected Jacques Diouf of Senegal to the post of Director-General. Of the 162 votes cast in the final round of voting, 90 went to Mr Diouf as against 72 for the Australian candidate, Mr Miller.
Mr Diouf (57) is a high level agricultural and financial expert and his appointment is being seen as a gesture of confidence in Africa by the majority of FAO members who wish to counteract the apparent marginalisation of the continent.
For the first time since its adhesion to the FAO, the European Union was represented by its agricultural and rural development commissioner in the person of RenÃ© Steichen.
During his speech, Mr Steichen gave an assessment of cooperation between the FAO and the European Union and expressed the wish that this should develop further. He laid special emphasis on the question of specific EU action as regards increasing agricultural production and strengthening food security in the developing countries.
Common Market in Eastern and Southern Africa
On 5 November in Kampala (Uganda), 15 countries signed the treaty which is designed to turn the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States (PTA) into a Common Market (COMESA). The PTA has, since its foundation in 1981, been gradually implementing a programme of reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers as well as promoting intra-regional trade. The transformation into a Common Market was envisaged in the original PTA Treaty. 15 countries have signed the treaty: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The signing ceremony took place during the summit meeting of the PTA Authority. The PTA currently has 23 members and the Kampala summit was also attended by observers from the South African Government, the African National Congress, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Pan-African Congress. International organisations which assist the PTA, including the European Union (which has financed some of the preparatory work for the new treaty), were also present.
UNIDO Report predicts higher growth
Economic growth in the South is outstripping that in the North and this looks set to continue in 1994. This is one of the main conclusions of Industry and Development: Global Report 1993/94 issued in November by the UN Industrial Development Organisation. The UNIDO publication presents an overview of current changes in the international economic environment together with short- and medium-term growth projections for all countries and regions of the world. Overall world output is forecast to rise by 3.1% during 1994 (1% in 1993) while the prediction for global manufacturing is + 3.6% (almost stagnant in 1993). Technological change and liberal, market-based economic policies are seen as the major factors likely to boost the global economy. These factors have forced industrial enterprises in both North and South to become more efficient through restructuring. As regards the developed world, the Report foresees in the short term, sluggish recovery in the USA, and continuing recession in Western Europe and Japan. By contrast, a 4% increase in output is expected in the developing countries as a whole. The medium term projection, covering the next five years, is even more encouraging with growth expected to average 4.4%. China, which is excluded from the list of developing countries for this purpose looks as if it will be the star performer, with output rising by an average of 8% annually over the next five years. The Report also contrasts the experience of Asia and the Pacific on the one hand and sub-Saharan Africa, on the other. It concludes that although the export successes of Asian countries have more to do with individual country experiences than trade policy and markets reforms, some aspects of the Asian model may offer broad lessons for the world's poorest continent.
Andean Group woo European traders and investors
Latin America is opening up to international markets and eager for Europe to help it play its part in the global economy. This was the message to European businessmen and financiers at a conference in Brussels in November at which government ministers and representatives of trade and industry from South America introduced them to trade and investment opportunities in the new Andean market. Speakers were joined on the platform by the Vice-President of the European Commission and Member responsible for development cooperation, Manuel Marin, and the President of the European Union's Council of Budget Ministers and Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, Herman Van Rompuy, for a detailed exploration of present and future relations between the Union and the Pact The Andean Pact is a grouping of five Latin-American countries, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, which agreed at Cartagena in 1969 to liberalise trade, integrate their economies and create programmes of regional investment (Chile was also a member until 1976). Put together, their territories are twice the size of the European Union, with a present population of nearly 100 million, and they are rich in mineral and hydrocarbon resources, though inhospitable terrain and large distances are serious obstacles to integration. In the early years, dirigiste policies of import substitution and external protectionism were pursued, while foreign investment in the region was restricted, so that more advanced technology was also kept out. In 1989, however, the Pact was relaunched with a decision to set up a free trade zone (the first of its kind in Latin America) and establish a common external tariff. This goal was achieved in 1992.
The President of the Andean Pact Council of Ministers, Miguel Rodriguez Mendoza, who is a Minister of State of Venezuela, told the meeting that on 1 January 1994 the free trade zone would become a customs union, the first ever in the developing world, and the objective was to build an economic area in which the five member countries could exchange goods, services and capital without restrictions by the year 2000. The new open attitude to international markets meant diversifying production and becoming competitive, which would require investment. The minister also hoped the EU could now allow Andean metal, mechanical and agricultural products access to its markets.
Looking at trade in the other direction, the greatest rise in exports from the European Community to another part of the world in the three years to 1992 was in exports to Latin America, which rose by 33%, compared with an increase of 20% to the ASEAN countries and falls of 3% in exports to EFTA and 4% to the United States and Canada. There was a 30% rise in exports to the countries of the Andean Pact alone.
Mr Marin of the Commission said the European Union had followed the democratisation process in Latin America with great interest; it saw integration as the best response to the challenge of international competition and the best safeguard against political introspection and crossborder conflict. But the Union was not seeking to impose a European model of integration. The European Community had set the tone for its relations with the Andean Pact in a new cooperation agreement signed in April 1993. This was built on respect for democratic values and human rights; support for social programmes and action to alleviate poverty, particularly in order to offset the rigours of the structural adjustment programmes which the Andean countries had been brave enough to set in motion; cooperation in development through financial and technical assistance and economic cooperation; trade relations, with a system of Andean Preferences serving to help economies and societies rocked by civil strife and drug trafficking to reconstruct and diversify; and institutional relations through the Board of the Cartagena Agreement, which runs the Andean Group, plus political dialogue. But ultimately it was up to the Andean countries themselves to make this work: 'The essential condition for the success of development cooperation,' the Commissioner said, 'is the firmness and seriousness of the internal policies pursued by the recipient states.' And there was an important role for entrepreneurs: 'Only societies which succeed in equipping themselves with a network of healthy, dynamic and competitive enterprises, especially small and medium ones, will find a way out of the crisis.'
Mr Van Rompuy, speaking for the EU's Council of Ministers, said that the Union was far ahead of the United States and Japan in institutional support for the Andean Pact and just behind the US in trade relations. Capital which had fled Latin America in the 1980s was now flooding back - and this was mainly private money, a sign of investor confidence. Social inequalities in Andean countries must be addressed, however, or the resulting political unrest would drive that investment back out again.
The attractions for European entrepreneurs were set out by the Coordinator of the Board of the Cartagena Agreement, Manuel JosÃ© Cardenas. The Andean Group possesses over 50 % of Latin America's proven and probable oil and natural gas reserves, 53% of its coal reserves, 40% of the region's hydroelectric potential and about 10% of the world's copper reserves, The President of the Andean Business Confederation, Venezuela, Edgard Romero Nava, invited European businessmen to look at the opportunities for joint ventures in tourism, construction, the service sector, aluminium extraction and hydrocarbon derivatives. This was the Andean Pact's first ever attempt outside the American continent to give a boost to economic relations with partners elsewhere in the world - and it is clearly an initiative to keep an eye on in the future.
The Arvid Parvo Award for Research on the concept of the Common Heritage of Mankind
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was adopted in 1982, will enter into force on November 16,1994 (i.e. 12 months after deposit of the 60th instrument of ratification, as foreseen in the Convention).
The Convention provides the legal framework, institutional arrangements and dispute settlement mechanisms affecting the use and exploitation of the world's oceans. But, even before entering into force, it has also had a remarkable influence on the progressive development of international law. One of the most novel - and significant - legal concepts contained in the Convention is the definition of the sea-bed, ocean floor and subsoil, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as the common heritage of mankind. Much of the credit for the elaboration of this concept must go to Ambassador Arvid Parvo who argued for it eloquently during the negotiations. The purpose of the Arvid Parvo Award, which is being offered annually by the International Ocean Institute at Dalhousie University in Canada, is 'to promote research, studies and wider dissemination of the concept of the common heritage.' Candidates for the award are required to submit the results of their research in an extensive essay or monograph. The prize will consist of three elements: an undertaking by the IOI Board to ensure the publication of the study; an award certificate to the author(s) and a token payment of US$ 5000. The closing date for submission of studies for the 1994 award is 15 March. Further details of the rules governing the award should be obtained from: The International Ocean Institute, Dalhousie University, 1226 LeMarchant street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 3P7
Partnership agreement between European Commission and UNHCR
On 13 December, Manuel Marin, European Commissioner with responsibility for humanitarian aid, and Sadako Ogata, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, announced the signature of a framework partnership agreement between the Commission and the UNHCR in the field of humanitarian aid.
Paying tribute to the work of Mrs Ogata, Mr Marin said that the agreement had been made with three objectives in mind:
- to achieve a secure and stable framework for action in the humanitarian field;
- to guarantee clarity and administrative transparency; and,
- to ensure that the organisation of humanitarian actions was both systematic and speedy.
He went on to say: 'This agreement will allow us to develop an ongoing dialogue on the political and logistical aspects of humanitarian aid, on the programming of actions and on experience gained in the field.'
Since March 1993, the Commission has signed 80 partnership agreements with almost all of its interlocutors working in this field. These include the large NGOs such as Oxfam, Caritas, the Red Cross and MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res, as well as a number of smaller, more specialised bodies. The agreement with the UNHCR is the first to be concluded with a United Nations Agency.
For her part, Mrs Ogata emphasised the 'excellent collaboration' between the UNHCR and the Commission. She viewed the agreement as a 'very important step forward' which would allow for relations between the two partners to be strengthened further. It would also, she stressed, be a 'determining factor in the efficiency and speed of humanitarian aid.'
A Commission/UNHCR Working Group has been set up under the agreement. This was due to meet for the first time on 14 December.
The Commission has recently taken the following decisions to provide humanitarian aid (including emergency and food aid):
Haiti: ECU 1 m to provide assistance, for a six-month period, under three separate headings: ECU 700 000 for a nutritional/medical programme, ECU 200 000 to maintain surgical work in two hospitals and ECU 100 000 for medical help to the people of the island of Gona.
Angola: ECU 1 m to implement the four following projects (each of ECU 250 000) in favour of displaced people: Medical/nutritional aid for the north of the country; sanitary assistance and meeting basic needs in
Kuanza Province; the establishment of two temporary medical centres in Bengo Province; and the distribution of food aid already supplied.
Papua New Guinea: ECU 56 000 for the purchase of basic essentials for the people of Bougainville, following the reopening of the island to humanitarian aid, and in pursuit of the peace process in the area.
Rwanda: ECU 1m to help meet the essential needs of displaced peoples and recent returnees following the ethnic conflict in the north of the country.
Senegal: ECU 1m for food aid and a vaccination programme for displaced people from the Casamance region.
Burundi: ECU 2m for food aid, basic equipment and medical help, for refugees from the recent conflict in the country.
Liberia: ECU 1m in nutritional support for displaced people.
Zaire: ECU 1m to supplement nutritional, medical and sanitary assistance for the people in Eastern Kasai who have been expelled from Shaba.
Somalia: ECU 650 000 to pay for the cost of transporting aid from Kenya to various Somali towns.
Tanzania and Zaire: ECU 1m and ECU 500 000 for Burundian refugees in Tanzania and Zaire respectively, for the purchase of basic essentials.
Somalia: 650 000 to pay for the cost of transporting aid from Djibouti to various towns in the north of Somalia.
Burundi: ECU 3m for essential equipment, food aid and medical assistance for displaced people within the country.
Liberia: ECU 1m in nutritional aid for displaced people in the area between Totota and Weala.
Angola: ECU 1m to rehabilitate the Lubango Central Hospital and to provide medical and nutritional aid in various provinces of the country.
Rwanda and Tanzania: ECU 2m (ECU 1 m for each country) for food, medical and sanitary aid, and essential equipment.
Zaire: ECU 1m for refugees (of Kasai origin) expelled from Shaba, for food and medical aid.
Sierra Leone: ECU 350 000 for people displaced following the troubles in the Eastern Province of the country. The aid, which takes the form of medical/nutritional and sanitary support, seeds and agricultural tools, is designed to help the people involved to re-establish themselves.
Sudan: ECU 500 000 for nutritional and therapeutic support and the provision of basic essentials for displaced people living in the Ame, Atepi and Aswa camps.
Burundi/Rwanda: ECU 2 million for four projects aimed at helping people who have been displaced as a result of the recent upheaval in Burundi. Two projects will be undertaken in Burundi itself and the other two are aimed at refugees in Rwanda. The aid provided will include tents, medical facilities food and other essential equipment.
Ethiopia: ECU 350 000 to help Ethiopian refugees recently returned from camps in Kenya to reintegrate. The aid will include medicines and food for children, many of whom are suffering from malnutrition.
Kenya: ECU 1 million for Somali refugees. The aid will be used to effect urgent repairs to the water distribution and sanitation systems in the Marafa, Dabab and Mandera camps in the north-east of Kenya.
Liberia: ECU 1 million to help in the repatriation of Liberian refugees to their country of origine. The money will help fund the establishment of transition centres in the northern county of Lofa to take returnees from Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Sudan: ECU 1 million for displaced people in the south of the country. The aid will be used to purchase basic essentials (clothes and mosquito nets) and to provide logistical support aimed at avoiding overcrowding around the food distribution centres.
Rwanda, Tanzania and Zaire: ECU 18.3 million in further support for Burundian refugees. The aid is intended to help meet the needs of some 700 000 people who have fled from Burundi to the neighbouring countries and will include food, basic essentials, transport, vital medical supplies and shelters.
Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia): ECU 400 000 for the purchase, transport and distribution of food parcels. The aid is divided as follows: ECU 160 000 for Georgia, ECU 140 000 for Azerbaijan and ECU 100 000 for Armenia.
Cambodia: ECU 285 000 for medical aid allowing for continued surgical care to wounded people, support for local dispensaries, essential equipment for the blood transfusion service and material for an orthopedic centre.
Pakistan: ECU 230 000 to support a hospital in Quetta providing care for Afghans wounded in the recent fighting.
Ukraine, Russia and Belarus: ECU 500 000 for a continuing medical programme for the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Mongolia: ECU 500 000 for food aid and essential products destined for the most vulnerable sections of the population whose standard of living has declined as a result of the economic reforms dating from 1990.
Azerbaijan: ECU 500 000 for additional food aid and essential products for people displaced by the conflict.
Tadjikistan: ECU 500 000 for additional food aid and essential products for displaced persons and the most vulnerable sections of the population.
Armenia: ECU 500 000 for additional food aid and essential products for displaced persons and the most vulnerable sections of the population.
Kirghyzstan: ECU 500000 in additional aid for food and other basic essentials.
Sri Lanka: ECU 150 000 for hospital and medical supplies (ECU 50 000) and for sanitary facilities in public buildings occupied by the most vulnerable sections of the population (ECU 1 00 000).
Vietnam: ECU 110 000 for the manufacture of orthopaedic aids and medical staff training in Ho Chi Minh City, in connection with the injuries which continue to be caused by antipersonnel mines laid during the war.
Albania: ECU 350 000 for food parcels, hygiene products and medical aid for some of the poorest sections of the population living in Tirana and other regions of the country.
Armenia: ECU 300 000 to supply the Spitak Hospital (restored after the earthquake) with medicines and equipment.
Georgia: ECU 300 000 in additional support for the winter programme, in the form of medicines, food and items designed to protect against the cold.
Georgia: ECU 500 000 for displaced people following the conflict in Abkhazia.
Iraq: ECU 3.25m (derogation from the economic embargo) for the Kurds in the north of the country for the purchase and distribution of cooking fuels.
India: ECU 360 000 to help assist those affected by the recent earthquake.
Ex-Yugoslavia: ECU 72m to reinforce existing aid programmes for the victims of the war - in particular in Bosnia-Herzegovina where the need is most urgent.
Bolivia: ECU 25 000 to help improve the living conditions of 'street-children' in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Peru: ECU 85 000 for the purchase and distribution of medicines - in particular against cholera - to the people in the Lower Apurimac region displaced as a result of terrorist attacks.
Cuba: ECU 1.475m for logistical and sanitary assistance for hospitals, and for the distribution of medicines.
Armenia: ECU 425 000 for the rehabilitation of 25 small hydro-electric plants.
Ex-Yugoslavia: ECU 86m for the winter programme. This sum will be divided as follows: 68.6% for Bosnia-Herzagovina, 19.8% for Serbia-Montenegro, 6.6% for Croatia, 3.5% for the former Republic of Macedonia, 0.9% for Slovenia and 0.6% for ex-Yugoslav refugees in Turkey.
Russia and Ukraine: ECU 4m of which ECU 3.6m in medical aid and essential products for Russia and ECU 400 000 for a medical programme for child victims of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
Tadjikistan: ECU 2.9m for a winter programme for people displaced as a result of the civil war. This will take the form of medical assistance, food aid and other essential products.
Palestine: ECU 5.7m for medical aid and assistance for prisoners, with priority for those living in the camps in the Gaza Strip.
Kirghyzstan: ECU 3.1m for a winter programme for the general population, 40% of whom are now living below the poverty line, due to the social impact of the economic reforms.
Iraq: ECU 6.75m for food aid, medical sup plies, de-mining operations and infrastructure repairs. The main beneficiaries will be people living in the north of the country.
Georgia: ECU 3m to provide people displaced by various conflicts with medical assistance, food and protection against the cold.
Azerbaijan: ECU 3m for people displaced as a result of the conflict between Armenians and Azeris, the money to be used for food and medical aid, and for the provision of essential equipment.
Armenia: ECU 3m for displaced persons and the other least-fortunate sections of the population, notably in the capital, Yerevan, in the northern region of the country which has suffered since the 1988 earthquake and in the southern area which has been most seriously affected by the Azeri-Armenian conflict. The aid will take the form of food, medical and energy supplies.
Afghanistan: ECU 500 000 for Tajik refugees in the north of the country, to pay for food and, eventually, to help finance their repatriation.
Nicaragua: ECU 500 000 for the transport and distribution of food and hygiene products to people affected by floods following the passage of Hurricanes Bret and Gert.
Cuba: ECU 330 000 for food and hygiene pro ducts and other essential materials to assist those forced to leave their homes following torrential rain in the eastern part of the island.
Cambodia: ECU 250 000 to continue a programme for the provision of artificial limbs to victims of anti-personnel mines.
Afghanistan: ECU 500 000 in favour of people displaced by factional fighting. The money will be used to assist in the rehabilitation of the Kabul and Jalalabad Hospitals.
Afghanistan: ECU 350 000 to provide essential products, medicines and an epidemiological survey for Tajik refugees in the north of the country.
Peru: ECU 175 000 to provide medicines, additional medical personnel and local transport for cholera victims in the Amazon Basin.
Honduras: ECU 395 000 for essential products, medical supplies and food aid for flood victims in the northern region.
Bolivia: ECU 150 000 for essential help to flood victims in the poorer areas of the capital.
Albania: ECU 106 000 in logistic back-up for two mobile bakeries supplied by the British Government to help cope with the arrival of refugees from Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Romania: ECU 350 000 for essential products to support social structures for the least favoured groups among the population (physically and mentally handicapped people, orphans, old people).
The Commission took a decision to finance food aid as set out in the chart which follows:
Agricultural Transformation in Africa
Edited by David Seckler - Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, North Kent St, Arlington, USA - 1992 - ISBN 0-933595-77-8 - 208 pages
This is the report of a seminar of specialists in the economic development of sub-Saharan Africa held in Baltimore in May 1992. It covers four main topics, starting with a definition of the notion of agricultural transformation, in which we learn that there is a growth dynamic in rural households which enables them to go on producing cheap food.
Next, there is the problem of natural resources in sub-Saharan Africa, discussed against the backdrop of environmental decline and a population which doubles its size every 25 years. However, one or two positive aspects are highlighted. Malnutrition has spread no further, for example, and food prices and the growth in the average output of agricultural work are stable.
The third subject of discussion is the link between agriculture and other sectors and, most important, the link between agricultural processing and faster economic growth.
The book ends with a consideration of the means to be deployed to promote agricultural transformation.
No practical solutions are provided for the problem of Africa's agricultural development, for what the seminar does, in fact, is suggest one or two subjects of reflection and set aside many others (how to spread technology and the importance of cooperation among donors, for example).
It is worth noting that the organisers of this event earlier ran a seminar on what Africa could learn from Asia.
Policy Options for Agricultural Development in sub-Saharan Africa
Casin/SAA/Global 2000 - Edited by Nathan C. Russel and Christopher R. Dowswell - Airlie House, Virginia, USA - 1992 - 190 pages
This is the report of a working seminar involving the SAA (Sasakawa Afrika Association) and Global 2000 (Carter Centre), two organisations which combined to form SG 2000, an association which runs agricultural projects in sub-Saharan Africa. It reflects genuine cooperation between agricultural development specialists, SG 2000 and the Agriculture Ministers in the countries concerned.
The idea behind the cooperative venture is to use contrasting opinions to highlight what is needed to maintain and protect farming and so the discussions focused not on the end, which is self sufficiency in food, but on the fastest means of achieving it.
The report highlights the importance of introducing and transferring new agricultural technology. One vital question is how Africa's main farmers and producers can cope with the challenges of technological change - i.e. what can most beneficially and practically be done on the continent 7
Two things, the writers suggest. First of all, the formation of a network of operators to transmit new technology to groups of farmers and use the feed-back to determine the best solutions to the problems of agricultural development. Second, provide practical training in the new technologies, with the possibility of direct testing (although this raises problems of technological dependence).
Macro-economically, they maintain, it would be wise to have flexible exchange rates, fewer trade barriers, more privatisation and less State intervention and, of course, there must also be a policy of disseminating and supporting internal technology.
Rural capital formation is also important, because it ensures the potential for a rural financial market. Thus, Africans should create a more hospitable environment that will attract businessmen and their investments.
In the final chapter, on the results of the structural adjustment policy, the writers discuss practical problems and take a clear and balanced approach to suggesting solutions.