IOA Position Papers

The Future of African Food Security

Seeking solutions to nourish nations in the face of climatic and developmental uncertainty

IOA’s report, The Future of African Food Security, explores the current state of food security in light of the severe drought conditions and what impacts will result from these and the rise in global temperatures. Measures to improve food security are presented and discussed, including campaigns and programmes spearheaded by international organisations, reducing food waste and food loss, and the role sustainable farming practices can play in alleviating poverty and ensuring food security.

IOA consultants with expertise in food security and sustainability provide their input on these matters. What results from discussion throughout the report is a conclusion that a multi-pronged approach is needed to address issues of food security. Included in the requirements is land reform, balancing agriculture for export with agricultural production needed to feed local populations, and low-cost technologies to make farming viable at the family and community level.

Against a backdrop of climate change, African agriculture can be reformed to finally meet the nutritional needs of all African people, creating an optimistic future for the African continent.

Sustainability & Redefining African Development

Meeting targets or creating change?

IOA was privileged to participate in the 2016 Sustainability Summit at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) – a two-day event founded and organised by Blank Canvas International. The Sustainability Summit is a platform for trusted collaboration between business leaders and building of relationships towards more sustainable, agile business for Africa.

IOA and Blank Canvas International collaborated to develop the Sustainability & Redefining African Development report. The report assesses Africa’s efforts and progress toward ‘sustainable development’ and argues that what is needed is real, transformative change to unlock the incredible potential within Africa’s diverse communities, businesses, economies and cultures.

Battle over Africa’s oceanic treasures

Surprisingly, no shots have been fired by African navies against foreign vessels that illegally plunder fish and undersea mineral resources from Africa’s territorial waters. However, as fish stocks diminish and African peoples’ understanding of the value of sea minerals grows, aggressive responses will replace government’s lackadaisical attitudes.

SOMALIA, Mogadishu: In a photograph taken 16 March 2013 and release by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team 18 March, traders wait to sell their fish inside Mogadishu's fish market in the Xamar Weyne district of the Somali capital. Every morning Mogadishu's fisherman bring their catch from the Indian Ocean ashore upon which it is quickly unloaded and transported to Xamar Weyne's lively and chaotic fish market where it is sold for consumption on the local market and increasingly, for export to other countries. Over the last two decades, instability on land has greatly restricted the development of the country's fishing industry, but now that Somalia is enjoying the longest period of sustained peace in over 20 years, there is large-scale potential and opportunity to harvest the bountiful waters off the Horn of Africa nation, which boasts the longest coastline in Africa. AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE.

SOMALIA, Fishermen display their catch at a fish market in Mogadishu. Photo courtesy AMISOM/flickr

The scenario in which Mozambican, Namibian, Tanzanian and South African warships or boats from other African countries’ navies chase off or even fire upon an ever-growing fleet of foreign pirate ships is easy to imagine. No, the pirates are not the old-fashioned type that raid commercial vessels or kidnap ship crews or well-heeled guests on luxury yachts as is practiced off Somalia in East Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Rather, the invading armada is comprised of industrial-capacity vessels whose aim is to loot Africa’s aquatic natural resources.

In so doing, Chinese fishing ships decimate fisheries, rendering African fishermen who for generations have depended on the waters for their livelihoods unemployed and made fish expensive or unavailable to local markets and their customers who rely on fish for basic nutrition. Aquatic life is just one resource that is being looted. Mineral resources have also drawn pirates. Read more

Underlying conflicts continue to unsettle Madagascar – An interview with Adrien M. Ratsimbaharison

After Madagascar was diplomatically isolated following a 2009 coup d’état, normalcy seemed to have been restored to the island with the installation in 2014 of the government of Hery Rajaonarimampianina, which was elected in 2013 with 54% of the vote. However, the underlying causes for political instability remain, including long-held rivalries between major political leaders. IOA discussed these issues with Adrien M. Ratsimbaharison, Professor of Political Science at Benedict College in the US, author of the ‘The Failure of the United Nations Development Programs for Africa’ and long-time commentator on his native Madgascar.

Destruction in Antananarivo following Madagascar’s 2009 coup. Photo courtesy fanalana_azy/Flickr

Destruction in Antananarivo following Madagascar’s 2009 coup. Photo courtesy fanalana_azy/Flickr

Professor Ratsimbaharison, has political stability returned to the island?

The short answer to this question is that political stability has not returned to the island, despite the signing of the Roadmap for Ending the Crisis document in September 2011, the holding of the presidential and legislative elections in 2013, and the inauguration of the new president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, in January 2014.

The long answer is that the Roadmap for Ending the Crisis signed by the major political parties in September 2011, which allowed the holding of the presidential and legislative elections in 2013, did not resolve the conflicts between the major political actors, particularly between former President Marc Ravalomanana and former Mayor Andry Rajoelina. In this sense, I totally agree with the assessment of the International Crisis Group (ICG) that the Roadmap and the ensuing elections were just a “cosmetic end to the crisis,” given the fact that the conflicts between these major political actors were deliberately swept under the rug through this agreement. What the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the international community tried to achieve through the Roadmap was just the establishment of a so-called “consensual transition,” and the holding of the presidential and legislative elections. That was what was celebrated as being the “return to a constitutional order” after the so-called ‘coup d’état’ in 2009. As a result, the conflicts and their underlying causes remain untouched. In fact, the same underlying causes are now starting to create new instability and most likely, a new crisis sooner or later. Read more

North Korea’s African inroads come to an end

A UN panel calling Namibia out on breaking international sanctions by making military deals with Asia’s pariah state, North Korea, has wider implications. African countries can no longer blindly do what they want and laugh at international law without consequences.

The bilateral advantages were too tantalising for African countries to resist or for North Korea to withstand exploiting. Condemned in the international community as a rogue nation with a horrid human rights record, North Korea is subject to ever more strenuous sanctions aimed at hindering its nuclear and military ambitions.

A nationalist dance performance during North Korea’s annual Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang. Photo courtesy (Stephan)/Flickr

A nationalist dance performance during North Korea’s annual Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang. Photo courtesy (Stephan)/Flickr

The country is ruled by tyrannical Kim Jong-un, who may or may not be insane but is sufficiently ruthless to execute family members. Since 2006, the UN Security Council (UNSC) has passed five major resolutions aimed at countering North Korea’s nuclear programme. North Korea will go to any lengths to get what it wants, in this case, nuclear weapons and intercontinental missile delivery systems for those bombs that will ensure that Pyongyang gets whatever it wants in perpetuity. A foreign policy based on lies, insults, bellicosity and threats has unnerved the country’s immediate neighbours and disturbed the superpowers of the People’s Republic of China and the US.

Four African countries in particular, Ethiopia, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, have leaderships that seem not to care about the prospect of a nuclear-armed North Korea, nor about the millions of North Koreans oppressed by the Kim military regime. The fulsome descriptions of a “strong friendship between development partners,” that African heads of state and diplomats use to praise their relations with Pyongyang refer to a relationship with a regime, not a silent and powerless Korean people. Read more