Prioritizing food safety in Africa emphasized as implementation of Malabo Commitments gather momentum

Efforts by the African Union (AU) to bring to the forefront, the Africa food safety agenda, have been boosted following commitments by a group of food safety experts in the continent.

Members of the food safety community, predominantly, focal points of National Committees on Codex Alimentarius in AU member states committed to support the Africa food safety agenda programmes, particularly, the Africa Food Safety Index (AFSI), an information and data gathering tool on food safety.

The African group forms part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) with responsibility for setting food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to ensure food safety among others.

In recognizing the important role the Codex group plays in food safety, the AU through its programme, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control Africa (PACA), in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRF), and FAO organised a three-day workshop themed: “Strengthening Food Safety Capacity for Reporting in the Biennial Review”, to strengthen the experts network for the implementation of the AFSI in gathering data and information on food safety.

The meeting focused on building capacity for member states on how data from AFSI will be integrated with the Biennial Review (BR), a monitoring and evaluation tool adopted by the AU, to assess how member countries are implementing the 2004 Malabo Commitments by African leaders, to revolutionize agriculture in the continent. The BR is presented to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in the form of a score card called “Africa Agricultural Transformation Scorecard (AATS)”. The maiden report was presented to the Assembly of Heads of States and Government in 2018, however, lacking the food safety element.

Dr Amare Ayalew, Programme Manager for PACA, observed that AFSI is an important step to generate home-grown credible evidence on food safety in Africa, adding that if properly implemented, it could develop into a bigger platform like “Food Safety Information System for Africa”. He encouraged participants to prioritize data generation to promote evidence-based food safety policies and actions.

Mr. Piet Visser, Team Leader, Agribusiness and Value Chain (CTA), stressed the importance of the AFSI to the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and food systems. He expressed optimism that the inclusion of data from the AFSI that the BR-AATS, would stimulate countries to make the required investments in food safety, an intervention, he said, CTA would be proud to associate with.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mr Fredy Chinyananhu, a member of the Zimbabwe National Committee on Codex Alimentarius expressed the commitment of members to ensure that the objectives of the AFSI are achieved. He noted the meeting had generated a lot of interest in the AFSI and built the capacity of members to appreciate the importance and value of the AFSI to food safety in the continent.

The Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods was adopted by African Union Heads of State and Government in June 2014 at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly. It commits leaders to a set of actions that will accelerate agricultural growth and transformation across Africa. The Declaration was a recommitment to the principles and values of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as well as additional commitments and targets for results and impact.

1,533 suspected cholera cases and 31 associated deaths reported in the north-east Nigerian

According to the latest Situation Report of Cholera Outbreak issued by the Borno State Ministry of Health, 1,533 suspected cholera cases and 31 associated deaths were reported in the north-east Nigerian state from 5 to 17 September.


IOM team conducts a hygiene promotion session for IDPs in Bama, Borno State. Photo: IOM

The State Ministry of Health is coordinating the response to the outbreak in partnership with the Humanitarian Country Team.

As part of the cholera response IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is conducting targeted hygiene promotion and sanitation activities in camp andcamp-like settings. This is directly implemented by IOM camp committees and technical teams. In the Konduga, Maiduguri, Jere, Dikwa and Gwoza local government areas (LGAs), IOM teams sensitized 2,726 households (around 15,000 people) to improve hygiene practices through house to house visits, mass campaigns and focus group discussions. Construction of additional hygiene and sanitation facilities such as latrines and showers are ongoing in Konduga and Jere, which are high cholera-risk LGAs.

“We realize that as youths we can bring positive change towards curbing cholera in Gubio by encouraging proper utilization of sanitation facilities that are in the camps,” said a young man during a sensitization session on cholera prevention in Gubio, Maiduguri.

In addition, IOM continues to implement standard Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) activities to facilitate equitable access to services among the affected population as well as timely mapping and referral of gaps in the provision of assistance, reaching more than 680,000 displaced individuals across 110 camp and camp-like settings in Borno State. IOM is co-leading the CCCM sector in north-east Nigeria.

“Detecting and responding rapidly to suspected cases of cholera is vital to controlling outbreaks, which can spread rapidly,” said Fouad Diab, IOM Nigeria Emergency Coordinator, following the release of the latest situation report. “We are working towards ensuring that basic hygiene practices, including use of clean and safe water and proper sanitation are promoted among internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities,” he added.

The Government is also disseminating prevention messages to combat the water-borne disease through local radio stations in Hausa, Kanuri, Shuwa and Bura languages.

Before the outbreak was officially announced, IOM had been conducting sanitation, hygiene promotion and cholera preparedness activities in the north-east. Since the beginning of 2018, IOM has reached 64,700 individuals with targeted WASH services in Borno State.

Additional resources are urgently needed to strengthen the response and mitigate the risk of the outbreak spreading to other areas. Partners are currently using existing resources from regular emergency operations. These are not enough for a full-scale response.

Borno State is at the heart of the ongoing conflict in north-east Nigeria, a region where, according to recent assessments, 1,926,748 people are displaced, up from 1.7 million at the start of 2018. Up to 79 per cent of IDPs in the region are women and children.

AfDB made 5 billion CFA Francs to to capacitate the Regional Maintenance Training Center (CERFER)

The African Development Bank Group has made a grant of 5 billion CFA Francs, through its African Development Fund , to the Council of Understanding, to finance the reform of the Regional Maintenance Training Center (CERFER). 


Executive Secretary of the Council of the Agreement, Patrice Kouamé

Funding is part of the Training Integration Support Project (PAIF) in the road, railway and mining trades in the Council’s member countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Benin , Togo, Burkina Faso and Niger.

This funding will enable CERFER’s reform modules to be completed, including the restructuring of the management of the center; its total refurbishment and the construction of new premises; the acquisition of new equipment and materials; the launch of new training courses in the construction industry. The funds will also contribute to the introduction of modular training, the introduction of professional licensing streams, the strengthening of teaching staff capacity and the establishment of an appropriate communication policy.

The expected results are the training of a significant number of qualified technicians in the building and public works (construction) sectors, roads, railways and mines, as well as the improvement of the performances of the different actors of these sectors. sectors.

The Executive Secretary of the Council of the Agreement, Patrice Kouamé, co-signatory of the grant agreement, welcomed the “constant commitment” of the Bank to support the subregional organization and to accompany the CERFER in its vision to offer learners theoretical and practical training adapted to the needs of companies, thus facilitating the employability and integration of young people from the center. “The African Development Bank is the only organization that accompanies us with this huge donation. In doing so, it effectively translates its support for investing in human capital as a powerful driver of development, “he said .

Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, Director General of the Bank for West Africa, for her part, stressed the relevance of the PAIF, which she said will inject new momentum into CERFER: “The project comes rightly, by its capacity, not only to solve the problem of youth employment, but also to help meet the challenges of infrastructure development and regional integration, which are just as many major challenges for the continent . “

For Akin-Olugbade, even when jobs are available, young people often do not have the skills required by employers. In this dynamic, she says, “the project will help equip the West African region with skills to meet the needs of the economy in strategic areas of transportation and mining infrastructure. It will promote the creation of a critical mass of technicians and technicians and will garner the direct employment of approximately 8,000 young technicians trained by CERFER over the next ten years. “

Ouro-Djobo Samah, Director General of CERFER, also welcomed this donation from the African Development Bank, which will propel the center and transform it into a pole of excellence at the country level of the Council of Europe. the agreement and the subregion.

The CERFER is a specialized agency of the Council of the Agreement, based in Lome, Togo, and responsible for the training of technicians in the building trades and public works, road, railway and mining.

The Council of the Agreement was created on 29 May 1959 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, with the objective of promoting the economic development of its Member States, through the implementation of joint projects and programs likely to increase the well-being of their populations. It also aims to contribute to the strengthening of political relations between Member States, with a view to maintaining between them and in the West African subregion a climate of peace, security, solidarity and mutual understanding, necessary for their economic and social development.