Through the Malabo Declaration in June 2014, African heads of state and governments made a commitment to accelerated agricultural growth and transformation, for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods. African leaders committed their countries to the mutual accountability of results and actions, within a biennial review (BR) process which involves tracking, monitoring and reporting on the progress that has been made. This BR mechanism established a pool of technical experts which helped to strengthen the culture of mutual accountability. This enabled the first biennial report on the implementation of the Malabo Declaration to be published. The process of implementing the commitments of the Malabo Declaration involves each member state of the African Union (AU) presenting its performance tracking in the form of a country scorecard. In January 2018, the 30th Ordinary Session of the AU Summit adopted the Inaugural BR Report.
Between 29 May and 1 June 2018, an expert task force identified that the BR mechanism helped governments to sufficiently feed their populations but that the safety and the nutritional content of food received less attention.
Food can be made unsafe by bacteria such as listeria, viruses such as rift valley fever, pesticide residues or natural toxins such as cyanide in cassava or aflatoxins in staple crops like maize and groundnuts. In order to reduce the burden of foodborne diseases, CTA will support the development of a pilot-tested, gender-responsive Africa Food Safety Index (AFSI). This index will be embedded by all 55 AU countries into the Malabo Declaration BR process.
Policy makers will be educated about food safety challenges and the links between these and other development areas such as the economy, health and gender equality. The project will establish a Food Safety Experts Network that will provide data collection and reports training to local experts in AU countries.
Unsafe food, caused by foodborne diseases, thwarts food security efforts across food systems. This CTA project therefore aims to assist in the institutionalisation of food safety standards by AU member states, to decrease the incidences of food-borne deceases and to reduce trade rejections of African food products. To achieve this, AU member states are expected to follow the Food Safety Index, prioritise and invest in food safety and have an enhanced understanding and ability to manage foodborne diseases and safe food trade.
Running from August 2018 to December 2019, the main activities of this project will include:
- Compiling background information on Food Borne Diseases (FBD) in Africa and categorising priority diseases according to different types of climate sensitivity, relevance to private sector exporters and the different impacts they have on men and women.
- Organising a ‘writeshop’ with food safety and gender experts, including experts from the private sector, to develop the AFSI. As well as creating templates for the collection of data, and policy briefs and training materials.
- Pilot-testing the Food Safety Index and the data templates in three selected countries in Africa. The findings will be validated with food safety stakeholders to refine the Index and the data templates.
- Developing a digital reporting system and a digital platform to compile and analyse the collected data, identify trends and links to other open access databases.
- Training the trainers and establishing the Food Safety Experts Network, who will lead on data collection and reporting on the Food Safety Index
- The prioritisation of food safety in AU member states, with at least 25 member states developing food safety master plans to increase investment in food safety.
- At least 20 countries submitting reports on the Food Safety Index to the second AU Malabo Biennial Review in October 2019 (for review and endorsement at the AU January 2020 Summit).
- At least 10 countries reporting a better understanding and ability to manage foodborne diseases and the safe trade of food.