Africa ‘needs to build resilience’

Former African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Photo: Gallo Images

Former African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Photo: Gallo Images

Commodity price collapse shows vulnerability as Africa still exports mainly raw materials.

The ongoing drought South Africa is grappling with is a continental problem, says African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

On the flip side of the coin, floods were having an increasingly negative effect on Africa.

According to Dlamini-Zuma, a humanitarian response was required to provide food security and support the farmers and families who would be forced to get rid of their productive assets without assistance.

She said nearly 50% of all emergency food assistance to Africa was due to natural disasters and it was necessary to build greater resilience.

Possible interventions included climate-smart agriculture, reforestation and investment in irrigation and storage infrastructure to build collective food security at country, regional and continental levels.

She also queried the state of the continent’s disaster management and the financing and insurance thereof, adding that industrialisation was key to building resilience.

“The commodity price collapse showed that we remain extremely vulnerable, because we continue to export mainly raw materials. So our mantra of industrialisation, economic diversification and agricultural transformation and agroprocessing must remain our focus.

“The practical solutions and actions we propose must alleviate suffering, but, above all, give our people hope that we are a leadership determined and capable to change the fate of Africa and set it on a new path, breaking the cycles of dependency and vulnerability,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

Economic growth estimates have been adjusted downwards as commodity prices continued to plummet.

Post-2000, Africa had recorded an “impressive” turnaround to an average economic growth of 5% a year compared with 2% in the 1980s and early 1990s.

– denisew@citizen.co.za

 

today in print