Business News Sat, 28 Feb 2004

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African Common market for Agricultural produce advocated

From: Patrick A. Firempong, GNA Special Correspondent, Sirte, Libya

Sirte, Feb.28, GNA - African Leaders on Saturday advocated the establishment of an African Common Market for agriculture produce and commodities with immediate effect. Member States of the African Union (AU) were expected to identify and promote agriculture products required for the market and to be committed to their production.

This was contained in a 25-point Sirte Declaration on the Challenges of Implementing Integrated and Sustainable Development on Agriculture and Water in

Africa adopted at the end of the two-day Second Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Sirte, Libya. The Leaders declared their commitment to identifying and supporting the production of important agricultural commodities and enhancing key economic and industrial activities.

These are to enable the Continent to fully exploit it potentials and comparative advantages of member states in agricultural production and other economic activities while reducing the expenditure and dependence on imports.

The African Leaders pledged to promote intra-African trade in agriculture and fishery products in order to correct discrepancies in food balances at both national and regional levels and to explore new methods for the payment of trade transactions.

In addition, they would develop clear strategies in the field of export-oriented industrialisation; promote regional co-operation and integration based on comparative advantage in establishing industries particular to those required for agricultural development. The declaration stressed the need for African Leaders to ensure co-ordination on African positions at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international trade negotiations to secure better terms of trade and to increase transactions of African countries in world trade.

The African Leaders decided to expedite action on the establishment of an African Investment Bank to ensure the financing of development projects in the field of agriculture and water.

The Leaders also advocated the execution of New Partnership For African Development (NEPAD) programmes in respect of agriculture and water and the implementation of the declaration adopted in Maputo, Mozambique on the allocation of 10 per cent of national budgets of various African governments to boost agricultural production in their countries.

On water, the Leaders stressed the need for Africa countries to encourage bilateral agreements for the sharing of water resources. They enjoined the various regional economic communities on the Continent to develop appropriate regional protocols to guide integrated water resources management.

The Leaders adopted the African Water facility plan and acknowledged the African Water Vision 2025 for a comprehensive integrated development of the water sector.

The Chairman of the AU was mandated to undertake a feasibility study for the expeditious establishment of an African Agricultural Development Fund.

Source: GNA

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