EU creates task force to develop agriculture in Africa

A new expert group is to be created by the European Commission to provide expertise, advice and possible recommendations on enhancing the role of the EU agri-food and agro-industrial sector in the sustainable economic development of Africa.

The first step in the creation of the Task Force Rural Africa (TFRA) is the call for applications for the selection of members, which will run until 23 March 2018. The group will consist of 11 members, all of whom should be experts with high level expertise and experience in agriculture, agri-business or agroindustry, trade, development policy or migration-related issues and with first-hand knowledge of the agri-food sector in Africa. They will all be appointed in a personal capacity, and will act independently and in the public interest.

Meeting four to six times in Brussels over the course of the next year, the TFRA’s role will be to provide advice on how to build upon existing cooperation structures between the EU and Africa in the broad area of food and farming in order to accelerate the sustainable development of the sector in Africa. It will also look at how the knowledge and know-how gained from European agriculture and rural development policies can be used to develop employment opportunities and revenue-generating activities in African rural areas. There will also be a specific focus on how to better support young people in the agri-food sector in Africa.

The TRFA’s work will build on the political commitments already made between the EU and the African Union, notably at the AU-EU Summit of 29-30 November 2017. The group’s findings and recommendations will be published in January 2019, and will be submitted as part of the wider Joint Africa EU Strategy (JAES).

The Commission Communication on the Future of Food and Farming from November 2017 emphasises that "the future CAP must play a larger role in implementing the outcome of the Valetta Summit, addressing the root causes of migration". It highlights in particular the importance of knowledge transfer to regions of origin, most notably Africa, through sharing of good practices and enhancing strategic policy cooperation and dialogue with the AU on issues related to agriculture, agri-food economy and rural development.

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