Africa is rich in both natural and human resources, yet nearly 200 million of its people are undernourished because of inadequate food supplies. Comprehensive strategies are needed across the continent to harness the power of science and technology (S&T) in ways that boost agricultural productivity, profitability, and sustainability -- ultimately ensuring that all Africans have access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs. This report addresses the question of how science and technology can be mobilized to make that promise a reality.
Success of the above-mentioned policies will require good governance, such as the democratic decentralization processes under way in Uganda. An effective public sector is essential for private-sector-based economic growth and eradication of poverty and food insecurity in Africa. Governments must develop a vision for agriculture that will be backed up with sound strategies and allocation of the necessary financial and technical resources. It is the Study Panel's view that the low priority given to agriculture and rural areas by governments of most African countries is the main reason for the poor performance, not only of the agricultural sector, but also of African economies in general.
As NEPAD recognizes, good governance also implies the enforcement of law and order and the absence of corruption. Widespread conflict in many African countries, as well as failure on the part of the government to maintain law and order, are important reasons for the existing food insecurity and poverty. Where conflict has been replaced with law and order - such as in Mozambique and Uganda - transient and endemic hunger and poverty have been reduced significantly. However, the continual absence of conflict does not ensure that hunger and food insecurity will disappear. It remains a necessary but not a sufficient condition.