Addis Ababa – May 23, 2013: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency is taking a significant lead in supporting and driving policy on Africa’s rural transformation.
The Agency today launched the Atlas on rural development titled “A new Emerging Rural World”, in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. Published by NEPAD’s Rural Futures Programme, the Atlas is an important tool for policy makers because it carries concrete figures on the rural dynamics of how Africa can develop.
Speaking at the launch, the African Union's Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Mrs Rhoda Peace Tumussiime said “It is important to look at urbanisation as an opportunity. In the rural areas agriculture is done by our old folks but we see generation of young people in urban areas who are more educated, are techno-savvy and can in future transform the countryside with these skills and knowledge.”
NEPAD Chief Executive Officer Dr Ibrahim Mayaki said the publication is not about vague speeches but is an important scientific tool to transformation. “We cannot talk about inclusive growth if we do not tackle the issue of rural development. Sixty five per cent of our population is made up of youth who will be in the majority in fifty years’ time. It is a pertinent time to look at the critical dimensions that will shape the future.”
Estherine Fotabong, Head of the Rural Futures Programme lamented the issue of rural poverty as a paradox in a continent which is also making economic gains in the urban areas, with some counties having the fastest economic growth in the world.
The Rural Futures Programme, launched in 2010 reflects the commitment of African leaders to advance the rural sector as a more effective engine for development and transforming the lives of the majority of Africans who still live in rural areas.
Earlier this month, the NEPAD, the Government of Benin, and other international development partners will held a special Forum on Taking Forward the Rural Development Agenda in Africa” in the Benin capital Cotonou.
The forum culminated in the Contonou Declaration, a framework with tangible deliverables is vital in that it will serve as a guiding framework for African Union member states and the NEPAD Agency, in designing and implementing a development strategy that emphasis transformation and growth in Africa’s rural areas.
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