Economic Development, Livelihoods and Food Security

Africa occupies an increasingly central position in the global political economy because of its natural resources and has now an unprecedented opportunity for transformation and sustained growth. Growing external demand for Africa’s goods and its growth as a market for goods from elsewhere could see Africa becoming the next major emerging market, with increased political power to match.

Adopting forward-looking economic policies that lead to sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development and which increase employment opportunities, promote agriculture development and reduce poverty are critical. In particular Africa needs to address the issue of food security, which is effected by a multitude of interrelated challenges not least of which are climate change, ecosystem degradation, land grabs and water scarcity, and which in turn has implications for achieving the MDGs and for social stability. The main challenge under these constraints will be to reconcile long-term and global objectives (e.g. climate protection, ecosystem stewardship and equity goals) not only with immediate economic benefits, but also with the need to secure local livelihoods and the non-negotiable human rights to water and food. Although agricultural performance has slightly improved since 2000, growth is not yet fast enough to achieve broad-based poverty reduction and food security.

There are opportunities for cities to increase resource efficiency and to move toward sustainability, and to play an important role in building food security. ICLEI Africa aims to foster integrated planning of infrastructure for water, wastewater and energy and to build the capacities of local governments to build synergies with their hinterlands and watersheds, by providing markets for agricultural products, by recycling waste products into and out of cities, and by promoting integrated approaches through peri-urban agriculture and landscaping.

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