About 35 African citizens signed a petition asking African leaders to implement agriculture investment plans that could save 31 million Africans from poverty and 12 million children from stunted growth.
The petition was signed at the sidelines of the 19th Africa Union Head of States summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the theme ‘Boosting intra-Africa trade.
Malawi is among the 23 low income African countries with other countries such as Ethiopia, Benin, Nigeria, Mali, Mozambique, Gambia, Guinea, Zambia, Liberia, Togo, Uganda, Niger, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana.
Vice President Khumbo kachali is attending the summit which was initially scheduled to be held in Lilongwe and was changed in the last minute.
Benin’s Foreign Affairs minister, Nassirou Bako-Arifari received the petition.
The petition is calling upon African leaders, donors, and private sector, to focus on 23 low income African countries that have tested, costed and affordable smart agriculture and nutrition plans.
ONE’s Africa Director Dr. Sipho Moyo said the petition reflects the aspirations of African citizens, for a brighter future.
“We believe targeting the agriculture sector where 70 percent of Africa’s population derive their livelihood, we will be giving the citizens of this continent a chance to thrive, a chance to feed their families, communities but most of all a chance to end hunger,” he said.
Moyo said his organization was also looking forward to seeing agriculture back on the agenda of the African Union summit in 2013.
The world’s greatest distance runner, Haile Gebrselaisse was also present at the petition delivery.
He said Africa was in the race of lifetime, a race that often marks the difference between life and death, a race against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Gebrselaisse said, “We are here asking our leaders to lead the way in ending the vicious cycle on hunger and poverty , once and for all by making investments in agriculture’.
At the Africa Union summit in Maputo in 2003, African leaders made a commitment to spend 10 percent of their budgets on Agriculture and rural development.
The petition also calls for African leaders to fulfil the 2003 Maputo declaration on agriculture, as well as improve transparency and accountability in budget and expenditure processes.