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African-led food strategy

African agriculture, education and finance members see a strong African commitment to agricultural programmes as critical to unlocking European aid

African governments have an historic opportunity to simultaneously secure significant new investments in agriculture and redefine relations with European partners by embracing a clear, African-led commitment to boosting food production. That is, in summary, what the Montepellier Panel Report suggests.

The Montpellier Panel is a group of 10 African and European experts from the fields of agriculture, sustainable development, trade, policy, and global development. Their report, compiled with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reflects concern that Europe risks squandering a rare moment to scale-up a “rich diversity” of activities already underway across Africa that “could achieve food and nutrition security through agricultural development.”

Importantly, the report insists that both Africa and Europe needs to work in tandem to realise the opportunities that are currently presenting themselves. “Europe needs a strong signal from African governments that the continent is primed to pursue a major transformation in food production,” says Namanga Ngongi, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and a member of the Montpelier Panel. “We can make this a more balanced and mutually beneficial partnership by boosting our support for the farm sector and presenting a strategy that directs European investments to the most promising programmes and most perilous problems.”