Have your say on Ireland’s overseas development plan

Self Help AfricaNews

Knowledge transfer, investment and market access should be at the core of Ireland’s new international development policy, Self Help Africa told Irish Aid in a submission as part of the current public consultation on the policy.

Ahead of the writing of a new overseas development plan, Irish Aid is consulting the public through a series of meetings across the country. Citizens will have a chance to participate in shaping the new policy at sessions organised by Irish Aid in Cork, Galway, Sligo, Limerick and Dublin. Supporters of Self Help Africa are encouraged to share their thoughts. (A complete list of dates and locations can be found here).

In its formal submission to the new draft development strategy, Self Help Africa recommends that the new strategy recognises that the developing economies in sub-Saharan Africa are particularly seeking support and partnership around three specific issues relating to agriculture and agri-enterprise:

  1. Knowledge transfer – to improve research and education that is tailored to the needs of African agribusiness development with a focus on rural smallholders and the use of ICT to enable faster and greater access to larger numbers of rural people.
  2. Investment – to support the development of small and medium size agri-enterprises in rural areas for the creation and sustaining of jobs, as well as to increase the income-earning opportunities of poor people.
  3. Market Access – to ensure small-scale producers participate fully in meeting rural and urban food demand.

Self Help Africa’s submission responds to these priorities and includes the following key recommendations:

➢ Establish strategic partnerships with Irish academic and research institutions in support of knowledge transfer, research and innovation, as well management training, in partner countries.
➢ Build on the success of the African Agri-food Development Programme and develop further partnerships between the Irish agri-food sector and African agribusiness.
➢ Develop a dedicated African Agri-Investment Fund of €50 million over the next five years as a pilot to provide investment and access to credit for indigenous small to medium sized African companies.
➢ Maintain and enhance Ireland’s focus on smallholder farmers as key drivers and beneficiaries of interventions relating to nutrition, agriculture and inclusive economic growth. ➢ Continue to target agriculture funding in LDCs and fragile states in sub-Saharan Africa where Ireland has a clear and positive track record, in particular in Ethiopia and Eritrea and across the Sahel.
➢ Support a nutrition-sensitive, holistic approach to sustainable agriculture in partner countries which promotes diversified diets based on indigenous crops and pulses.