Decreased_Poverty_AngolaThis past week, the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) discussed Angolan anti-poverty goals. Specifically, Director General José Graziano de Silva stated that the Angolan government is prioritizing the reduction of the country’s poverty rate by one half.

The Brazilian diplomat went on to remind his audience of the extreme conflict situations that Angola has faced in the past. He stressed that the country had all of its farming fields contaminated by landmines, but ended on a positive note, stating that the country is now recovering extraordinarily.

He made it clear that he wants Angola to serve as an example for other countries. For African countries still facing similar conflicts, the FAO is doing all that it can to spread the word of Angola’s experience.

For Angola specifically, the FAO has pledged its willingness to provide help and cooperation in fields such as agriculture, rural development, forests, fisheries and all other necessary focus areas. The hope is that, with time, these types of assistance will be provided across the entire continent.

Deputy Permanent Representative of Angola to the U.N. Agencies in Rome, Carlos Amaral, echoed the FAO Director General’s enthusiasm and determination. When asked about the situation of poverty rates and hunger in Angola, he boasted of the country’s recent accomplishments.

Amaral revealed to his audience that, although in the past the country hosted 6.8 million undernourished people, current records show only 3.2 million people suffering from malnourishment. He stated, “There is still work to be done regarding poverty reduction, but anyways there are indications that Angola is on the right track.”

Along with Angola, African countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda have been making notable strides in poverty reduction. They all share the same strategy: making a commitment to their own agricultural development.

For low-income farmers, lack of access to the capital required to help adapt their outputs to market demands presents a major issue. The protection of certain resources, such as access to proper land, water and human resources, could potentially allow all of Africa to achieve a sustainable food security system.

Continued urbanization amidst a growing population will create continued agricultural growth in Africa. Between 2000 and 2010, Africa’s agricultural GDP grew 3.2% each year. This was an increase from the previous decade, in which it grew by only 3% annually.

This moderate growth in the agricultural sector has helped to greatly reduce poverty levels in many African countries. With the FAO’s pledge to increase efforts in providing access to agricultural resources, Africa can now look ahead to an even brighter future.

Existing programs that target the agricultural sector, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and the African Green Revolution, have already gotten the ball rolling.

With a continued broad emphasis on agricultural development and improved focus in areas like protecting resources, creating wealth, and defining strategy and investment, Africa could redefine itself as a continent. It could shift from a continent known for poverty and scarcity to one filled with abounding agricultural potential.

Sarah Bernard

Sources: All Africa 1, All Africa 2, Huffington Post
Photo: VOA