Mr. Stanlake JTM Samkange, outgoing Chair of the Development Partners Coordination Group (DPCG) of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has called on the African Union and development partners to extend the time period for implementing the Malabo Commitments through the CAADP framework from 2025 to 2030 to foster alignment with the global Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr Samkange was speaking in Lusaka, Zambia on 1 November 2023, Day 3 of the 14th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security and the 19th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform.
Participating in a panel discussion focused on priorities for the remaining two years of the Malabo Declaration and key interventions that should shape and inform the Post-Malabo Agenda that will be implemented for ten years beginning 2026, Mr. Samkange stated that significant progress has been made to implement the Malabo Declaration Commitments through the CAADP framework but there is an urgent need to redouble efforts on achieving current targets in order to meet African citizens’ needs for food and nutrition security, including through trade.
He cited trends over the last five years that demonstrated prioritizing ending hunger and alleviating poverty as national security issues that will require targeted, high-impact investments in agricultural and food systems transformation.
Regarding the Post-Malabo agenda, Mr. Samkange observed that the Third Biennial Review Report (2021) on the Implementation of the Malabo Declaration found Africa is not on track to meet the goals and targets established by African leaders for 2025.
Out of 51 reporting Member States, only Rwanda is on track to meet the Malabo commitments by 2025; Kenya was the only country on track to meet the ending hunger goal; and only Ghana and Morocco were found to be on track to meet the halving poverty through agriculture target.
He therefore argued that the problem with CAADP lies not with the targets but with the implementation of programmes.
“Let’s not change something that’s already working well. The problem is not with the goals themselves; effective structures have already been put in place, but it is the actual implementation of actions and solutions we’ve designed that needs our attention,” he added. He proposed extending the time period for implementing the Malabo Commitments through the CAADP framework from 2025 to 2030 to foster alignment with the global Sustainable Development Goals.
In opening remarks that the outgoing DPCG chair made earlier on 31 October 2023 during the High-Level Segment, Mr Samkange expressed gratitude to the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the host country, the Republic of Zambia, for giving him the opportunity to deliver opening remarks.
The CAADP DPCG chair recalled the priorities agreed upon by development partners in 2021; discussed the challenges they faced over the past two years; and identified opportunities to strengthen development partner contributions to the implementation of the CAADP given that two of the key commitments of the Malabo Declaration – ending hunger and halving extreme poverty – are to be achieved by 2025.
The four priorities of the development partners group that Mr. Samkange discussed were:
- Working with governments and African Union institutions to accelerate progress towards achievement of the Seven Malabo Commitments through the CAADP Framework, particularly Commitments 3 and 4 (Ending Hunger by 2025, and Halving Poverty by 2025, respectively).
- Supporting increased investment and financing for agricultural growth and rural transformation from domestic and external sources through the CAADP Framework.
- Contributing to strengthening relevant African Union institutions to help achieve the Seven Malabo Commitments through the CAADP Framework, including at regional and country levels; and
- Enhancing existing accountability mechanisms within Africa and between Africa and its development partners through the CAADP Framework.
Providing insight into the challenges encountered by partners, the DPCG chair highlighted the disconnect between continental initiatives and their implementation on the national level. The fact that many countries have yet to fully implement some CAADP mechanisms and the national agriculture investment plans was another issue he brought up.
Mr. Samkange stressed the need to link CAADP’s distinct function and relationship to other continental and global initiatives aimed at addressing Africa’s food and nutrition security challenges. He stated that many development partners supporting CAADP have had to participate in others such as the AUC-FAO Taskforce on COVID-19 and the G7’s Global Alliance on Food Security that were organized to work on similar problems from different angles but ultimately needed to be connected to CAADP framework.
Highlighting opportunities to speed up CAADP implementation, Mr Samkange noted that the AU’s membership in the G20 should be utilized to address food insecurity and poverty during Brazil’s presidency and under the subsequent leadership of South Africa.
He emphasized that “Issues such as trade and climate have to be tackled in the context of the G20, as we cannot make progress on these issues without members of the G20, so it is a big opportunity for the African Union and CAADP” to prioritize accelerating implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in the context of achieving food and nutrition security through its G20 membership.
The DPCG chair cautioned that while a seat at the G20 table is a great opportunity for Africa, we should always be mindful that the G20 is not a group of like-minded countries and sitting at the table would not be enough. He asked that CAADP development partners be used to help the AU navigate this very difficult terrain to ensure that the objectives and commitments of CAADP Malabo are supported and reinforced by the G20.
Mr. Samkange ended his remarks by reaffirming the World Food Programme’s continued support to the African Union and the CAADP Development Partners Coordination Group.
Mr. Stanlake J.T.M. Samkange serves as the Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). In this capacity, he leads the WFP’s engagement with International Financial Institutions and serves as the WFP Sherpa for the G20.
He previously served WFP as Director of the Policy and Programme Division (2013-2018) where he led the reorientation of WFP’s strategic approach to ensure contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and national development objectives. From 2011-2013, he served as Regional Director for East and Central Africa (2011-2013). From 2008 to 2011, he was the WFP Representative and Country Director in Uganda, managing an operation that included emergency, transition and development responses.
From 2003-2007 he served in Rome as WFP Director for Policy, Strategy and Programme Support, galvanizing the shift from food aid to focusing on hunger alleviation through food assistance.
Prior to joining WFP, he served as Director of Research for the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty and was a Member (Rapporteur) of the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts set up to investigate the violation of sanctions against UNITA in Angola.
Mr. Samkange served in the Office of the UN Secretary-General as a Speechwriter from 1993-1996 and as a Political Officer in the UN Department of Political Affairs from 1996-1998. He practised law in Washington DC with Covington & Burling, and was educated at Harvard University (A.B.), Oxford University, and Stanford University Law School (J.D.).
He is a national of Zimbabwe.