Your Excellency Brother Muammar Gaddafi, Leader of the Great Al Fatah Revolution and Chairperson of the African Union,
Your Excellency Mr. Luis Luia Da Silva, President of the Federative Republic Of Brazil,
Your Excellency Heads of State And Government Of The African Union,
Representative of the Secretary General of United Nations
His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thanl, Emir of Qatar and Chairman of the League of Arab States
Your Excellency Mr. Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States,
Your Excellency Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa,
Your Excellency Mr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Your Excellencies Ministers,
Your Excellencies Commissioners Of The AU,
Your Excellency Heads of Regional Economic Communities (RECS) and AU Organs,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me begin by thanking our host, Brother-Leader Col Muammar Al-Gaddafi, the Government and People of the Great Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, for the warm reception and generous African hospitality since our arrival in Sirte.
This city has a special significance in the annals of African History. It was here, on 9th September 1999, that the Declaration of the formation of the AU was formally adopted. It was here in Sirte that the leaders of this continent once again revived the agenda for continental union government
The city has thus become synonymous with African unity. I also wish to acknowledge the elaborate arrangements that have been put in place for the hosting of this summit. We really do feel at home here.
I thank you for the warm words of welcome which you have addressed to me. Addressing this Assembly, which represents the embodiment of the aspirations of our people for continental unity, peace, progress, development shared African values of social solidarity, is both a privilege and a pleasure - a privilege to be among brothers an sister of Africa, and apleasure to enjoy the calm breeze of the calm Mediterranean sea.
Mr. Chairperson,The good people of Ghana who have honoured me with the mandate to preside over their affairs for the next four years salute you. The keenly-contested elections, acclaimed by the international community to have been free, fair and transparent, marked the second time in our recent political history that power was peacefully transferred from a ruling party to the opposition. I wish to thank the African Union and the entire international community for their continued support and goodwill.
In the run up to the elections, I pledged to my countrymen and women that relations with our immediate geographical neighbours of West African and members of the African Union would be central to in our foreign policy agenda. We are committed to working with you all as we strive to realize the developmental aspirations of our people and to fashion out the Union Government for our beloved continent.
That is why we believe the theme for this Summit “Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security” could not be more appropriate. Agriculture and Food Security remain the central pill in our development Agenda.
No country or continent, has achieved rapid economic progress, and improved the lines of its citizens without investing conscientiously, deliberately and scientifically in agriculture. Africa cannot be an exception.
A recent AU –ECA Report reminded us that and I quote “modernizing agriculture is crucial to development and industrialization in African, to food security, sustained poverty reeducation and integration of African in the global economy. Unquote.
This Report calls for special attention to agriculture sine Africa is heavily dependent on that sector for providing employment, generating economic growth, foreign exchange and tax revenue. The Report adults that the impact of the global financial crisis has already resulted in lower demand for Africa’s exports and a share decline in commodity prices.
This is indeed, a clarion call for more innovative approaches to be management of the agricultural sector in our countries and regional expand the internal continental market space to overcome our history where external forces sought to strangle in our development effort through methods of divide and rule.
Mr. Chairman, Africa is the only region in the world where per capita food production has steadily declined over the years. Or e-third of the continent is chronically undernourished Most of our farmers lack access to productive seed varieties, adequate water resources and soil nutrients. Our soils are the most depleted, and our infrastructure is next to non-existent.
The state of agriculture in Africa requires a fundamental overhaul, at both the national and regional levels. NEPAD’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) could no be more relevant or more urgent.
In Ghana, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. It contributes 35% of the nation’s GPD, and provides employment for about 60% of the population. Yet the full potential of the sector to drive the development process has yet to be fully harnessed.
To address this situation, we in Ghana are pursing a Strategy for Accelerated Modernization of Agriculture (SAMA), aligned to the national vision in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), the sub-regional ECOWAS Agriculture Programme (ECOWAP), NEPAD’s CAADP, and the global Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to have poverty by 2015. This strategy, seeks to:
• Provide easier and faster access to marketing centres for agriculture produce;
• Scale-up credit support facilities for farmers;
• Provide some subsidy for the procurement of improved seeds, grade breeders and stocks, pesticides and fertilizers;
• Expand irrigation and infrastructure; and
• Improve small-holder productivity in transition to large scale production.
We believe that the pursuit of large scale production of appropriate modernization implements such as tractors, power tillers, bullock ploughs and immediate means of transport, will reduce dependence on the traditional hoe and cutlass as the main implements of agriculture production.
We also believe that Africa’s vast agriculture potential can be released and develop through appropriate regional integrated agriculture strategies.
To conclude, let me thank, once again, our Brother Leader, Col. Muammar Al-Gaddaffi, our Chairman in Office, the Government and people of the Great Jamahiriya or the impetus for unit.
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the birth of our first President Kwame Nkrumah- who as you know was a committed Pan-Africanist, and a great believer in the modernization of Africa’s agriculture.
We intend to celebrate this centenary in September this year and we would be privileged if the African Union, which he labored night and day to help realize, we find a way to join the Government and people of Ghana in these celebrations.
Long live the Continental Union Government project whose foundation we are only just beginning to construct. Long live the people of African
I thank you for your kind attention.
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