Save the date: Inauguration of a Statue in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, to symbolize African Union’s Endeavor to ‘’Retire the Hoe to the Museum’’ towards mechanization of agriculture

Inauguration of a Statue in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, to symbolize African Union’s Endeavor to ‘’Retire the Hoe to the Museum’’ towards mechanization of agriculture

1. Introduction and Background

African agriculture remains poorly capitalized, with extremely low levels of mechanization contributing to agricultural productivity far below the level achieved in other parts of the developing world. Currently, over 60% of farm power is provided by human muscles, mostly from women, the elderly and children; only about 25% of farm power is provided by drudge animals and less than 15% of mechanization services are provided by engine power (AU and FAO, 2018). Agricultural mechanization is thus an indispensable pillar for attaining the zero Hunger Vision by 2025, as stated in the Malabo Declaration of 2014,

Aspiration 1 of the AU’s Agenda 2063, and Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Doubling agricultural productivity and eliminating hunger and malnutrition in Africa by 2025 can only be possible if mechanization is accorded the utmost importance. This includes enhancing access to mechanization services, improving access to quality and affordable inputs, such as seed and fertilizer, and delivering efficient water resources and management systems including irrigation.

 Recognizing the role of mechanization, the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), launched the Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization Framework for Africa, on 5th October 2018 in Rome. The Framework which has ten priority elements that will guide AU Member States when developing their national strategies for sustainable agricultural mechanization and implementing mechanization programmes at country level prescribed some core principles- mechanization must be built along the entire agricultural value chain, private sector driven, environmentally competitive and climate smart, and economically viable and affordable, especially to small-scale farmers who constitute the bulk of African farmers. Mechanization must also target youth and women, specifically to make agriculture more attractive for employment and entrepreneurship.

Agriculture, relative to manufacturing and services, is the most important source of employment for women by a wide margin in sub-Saharan Africa where they play a fundamental role in all the stages of the food cycle. It is estimated that women make up almost 50 percent of the agricultural labour force in sub-Saharan Africa, an increase from about 45 percent in 1980. The averages in Africa range from over 40 percent in Southern Africa to just over 50 percent in Eastern Africa. These sub-regional averages have remained fairly stable since 1980, with the exception of Northern Africa, where the female share appears to have risen from 30 percent to almost 45 percent (FAO 2011)1.   But the agricultural sector is underperforming, in part because women, who represent a crucial resource in agriculture and the rural economy through their roles as farmers, labourers and entrepreneurs, almost everywhere face more severe constraints than men in access to productive resources. They are in many cases deprived of land ownership, access to markets, key assets and inputs, and are frequently excluded from decision making. Efforts by national governments and the international community to achieve their goals for agricultural development, economic growth and food security will be strengthened and accelerated if they build on the contributions that women make and take steps to alleviate these constraints.

The 25th Ordinary Session of the Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government held in South Africa had the theme: “2015 Year of Women Economic Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”. At the summit, the then AU Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma launched a campaign to “confine the handheld hoe to the museum”. As a symbolic gesture, the Chairperson handed over a power tiller to each African Head of State and Government to emphasize the importance of removing the drudgery from agriculture, and thereby improving labour productivity, especially for women with the hope that mechanization of agriculture in Africa will be achieved within the next 10 years.

In Gender Pre-Summit consultations held on the margins of the 25th Ordinary summit, Women of Africa identified key priorities for the advancement of women empowerment, including the critical role of women in Agriculture. Building on this, an initiative on “Empowering Women in Agriculture”-EWA was launched with the aim to recognize and escalate the role of women in the development of Africa, through mechanization of agriculture and alleviation of the burden on women in rural communities.

As African women leaders galvanize their role and leadership in the transformation of Africa, in line with Agenda 2063, they have initiated a broader movement of women of Africa, the “African Women Leaders Network: - AWLN that has identified Agriculture as a determinant priority in the uplifting of women status in Africa and enhancing their leadership in defining the Africa We Want.

Indeed, Women’s predominance in agricultural tasks, combined with the existence of a gender gap in agricultural productivity and the need to boost Africa’s agricultural output is motivating increased attention to raising female agricultural productivity. Building on the initiative by the former Chairperson of the AUC and the mobilization of women around the theme, the AU Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture together with the First Lady of Burkina Faso, will inaugurate the first Statue in Burkina Faso to symbolize the retiring of a Hand-Held Hoe as part of International Rural women’s day in 2019.  

The statue will be erected and be formally inaugurated on October 15, 2019 in Ouagadougou on the margins of the celebrations of the International Rural Women Day.

Prior to the erection of the statue, a symposium of women farmers and women in rural communities will be organized to kick start a continent wide campaign to” Retire the Hoe to the Museum” and support women in the modernization of agriculture. 

2. Significance of the Statue

The construction of this first monument in Burkina Faso symbolizes the campaign to end the Hand Hoe in Africa in recognition of the difficult conditions of farming in rural areas. This monument is not a mere representation, but a living testimony of the African woman who faces an unequal division of work between man and woman in the rural environment. In addition, it is a testimony of society’s dedication to the implementation of the AU Agenda 2063, especially Aspiration six, “An Africa whose development is people - driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth and caring for children” Putting an end to the use of the hand-held hoe will contribute significantly to attaining the objectives of this Continental Agenda, and for agriculture, the 2014 Malabo Declaration. Rural women can play even a driving role for the progress of our continent. We need to recognize this force so that we can achieve the objectives of the Malabo Declaration, which is to accelerate the transformation of our agriculture by empowering rural women.  

The erection of the statue is on one hand a reflection of social transformations in the contemporary world, bringing to the fore and highlighting models of female emancipation capable of combating stereotypes, giving greater visibility to women and their achievements and hence contributing to their empowerment in

Africa. On the other hand, it will further act as a reminder to awaken the consciousness of the future generations on the history of the African continent, which considers the woman as the nucleus of the family., refining more and more, the knowledge of our colonial past and the lessons to the future.  

Finally, this monument must challenge political decision-makers and the network of rural women in their different roles that they play or should play in society. It is time for African governments to give priority to agricultural mechanization as an area for strategic investment.

3. Objectives of the Event 

  • To launch the campaign to relegate the hand-held hoe to the museum and enhance the role of women in Agriculture transformation on the continent.  
  • To highlight the priority elements for mechanization contained in the Continental Framework on Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa
  • To create momentum for developing and implementing national sustainable agricultural mechanization strategies in Africa with a view to reducing the drudgery in agriculture especially by women.

 4. Expected Results

  • Inauguration of the Statue of History of the African woman in Agriculture.
  • Workshop of Women farmers to kick start the campaign to “Retire the Hoe to the Museum”
  • Policy Makers sensitized on the working conditions of rural women with a view to influencing policies that empower women.
  • Definition of priority actions to promote agricultural mechanization in Africa to reduce the drudgery in agriculture especially by women.
  • Commitment by African leaders and other stakeholders to promote science and technology to alleviate the burden of rural women in agriculture

5. Participants for the Celebrations

The organizers have identified the President of the Republic of Ghana, as AU Champion for Gender and Development Issues in Africa as Guest of Honor. He will be joined by the former AUC Chairperson who made the call to “Retire the Hoe to the Museum”

The main target groups for this event are women in agriculture, Women academicians, women entrepreneurs, professional women, youth groups, media, Network of Women farmers/women in rural communities, International Women organisations, Universities/ Polytechnics, artisans, innovators.














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DOWNLOAD THE NEWSLETTER HERE : https://au.int/sites/default/files/documents/37341-doc-drea_newsletter_january-july_2019.pdf 


AU-SAFGRAD in collaboration with Arab League (AFTAAC) and the Regional Training Sector for Water Resources and Irrigation (RTSWRI), Cairo, Egypt, organized a ten (10)day training Workshop from 30Sept - 9th October 2019 with the theme: Irrigation Develop

AU-SAFGRAD in collaboration with Arab League (AFTAAC) and the Regional Training Sector for Water Resources and Irrigation (RTSWRI), Cairo, Egypt, organized a ten (10)day training workshop from 30Sept - 9th October 2019  with the theme: Irrigation Development and Agricultural Water Management in Africa: Planning for a Sustainable Future.

A total of 17 participants from 16 Members States (MS) were trained. The concerned countries were the following: Algeria, Burkina Faso , Chad, Cameroon , Congo Brazzaville, Congo Democratic Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Madagascar, Mali, Rwanda, Togo and TunisiaThe fully residential training programme adopted a combination of class-room and field practical approaches. The training targeted Francophone African countries and the training instruction was delivered in French language. 

The focus of the training workshop was to: 

  1. Build capacity of early and mid-career professionals in the areas of designing and managing water and cost-efficient irrigation facilities;
  2. Update participants knowledge on management, operations and coordination of Water Users Organization (WUO);
  3. Improve performance of small irrigation schemes in Africa through participatory planning, infrastructure operation and maintenance (O&M) for effective water use in relation to water scarcity and productivity;
  4. Expose participants to non-conventional irrigation water use in the cultivation of Azolla for livestock feeding .

The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of H.E, Dr Mohamed Abd Elaty, Minister MWRI, Egypt, Mrs Sherine Imam and Mr Mohameed Sherif Korta from AFTAAC, Dr Mamadoh Anter, Head of RTSWRI and Dr Ragab Abdel Azeem, Under-Secretary, MWRI, Egypt.

At the opening ceremony, Dr Mure Agbonlahor from AU SAFGRAD gave an opening/welcome remark on behalf of the Commission. He also made a PowerPoint presentation on how AU-SAFGRAD’s activities contribute to the achievement of Africa Union Vision was made before the welcome address of the Minister. The 16 MS that participated in the training made a presentation, after the opening ceremony, on the status and challenges of irrigation development in their countries. The presentations were followed by group discussions moderated by AU-SAFGRAD and the training center. 

From the technical interaction with the training center the cultivation and use of Azolla water plant as a non-conventional water use was introduce to the training program with field visit planned for the last day before the closing ceremony.      

The closing ceremony was organized on September, 9th. The event was chaired by Dr. Mohamed Abdel Elaty, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation and Amb.  Mohamed Sherif  Korta , Minister Delegate of AFTAAC, Dr. Ahmed Elmekass, AU-SAFGRAD Coordinator. Those VIPs delivered very important statements and gave to each trainee a certificate. Finally a wonderful diner with colorful african entertainment closed the ceremony that took place on the Nile River. 


Croup pic Opening

 Dr Mure Presenting AU SAFGRAD

Group Pic

Group Pic 3



Trainees 1

Cake of the ceremony

TRainees dancing

Nile River


AU SAFGRAD participated in Nairobi (Kenya) to the 10th meeting of IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Initative ( IDDRSI ) platform steering committee (04-06/09/2019)

AU SAFGRAD participated in Nairobi (Kenya) to the 10th meeting of IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Initative ( IDDRSI ) platform steering committee (04-06/09/2019)

The Coordinator of SAFGRAD has participated in the 10th meeting of IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustqinable Initative ( IDDRSI ) platform steering committee that has been held in Nairobi in the period 4-6 September 2019.

The steering Committe was discussing many issues among  which are the progress report of IGAD member states in building resilence and launching of the new phase of the IDDRSI Programing Frameworks .

AU-SAFGRAD has presented its support and  achievement in IGAD region related to the above mentioned matters which include among others: Strenthenning the capacity of young researchers and Non state actors, Value chain development, African irrigation Framework ,Pastoral Code and Combating desertification.The SAFGRAD presentation has been appreciated by MS and IGAD Secretariat. They have requested AU SAFGRAD to move forward to facilitate MS in buliding resilience.


Group picture at the opening 

PHOTO 3Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, discussing with peers


AU Framework on Irrigation Development and Agricultural Water Management (IDAWM) validated in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


The Framework document for Irrigation Development and Agricultural Water Management in Africa was validated during a workshop held on July 10-11 in Ouagadougou in the capital city of Burkina Faso.

 The Validation of this important document took place after a two-day workshop that brought together some thirty participants from several Member States as well as sub-regional and international institutions. The workshop was a follow up to the experts’ review meeting that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in December 2018.

The AU IDAWM framework provides a suite of development options with the associated interventions needed to stimulate irrigation and agricultural water management in the Continent. The suite of options cover the entire spectrum from improved management under rain fed system to full/large scale irrigation structure. The workshop was organized as part of AU-SAFGRAD’s program on facilitating agricultural research and transfer of technologies and innovations to mitigate the challenges of agricultural development in the continent.

The meeting facilitated by the African Union SAFGRAD, the Office of the African Union Commission in charge of Agricultural Research and Development in the Semi-Arid Zones of Africa, was opened the day before by a representative of the Government from Burkina Faso with Dr. Paul Orengo, Representative of the African Council of Ministers in charge of Water (AMCOW) and Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, Coordinator of AU SAFGRAD.

In his opening speech the Secretary General, the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources of Burkina Faso, Dr. Lamourdia THIOMBIANO, who represented the Hon. Minister of Agriculture, BF welcome Participants to the workshop and expressed thanks to AU through AU-SAFGRAD for the development projects initiated in African agricultural transformation. He, affirmed the importance of a continental framework to support irrigation development and water management for agriculture at regional and national levels. According to him, African agriculture faces many development challenges that only a functional and sustainable agricultural sector can help mitigate. The AU has responded to these challenges by, implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) and the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth for Africa shared prosperity and improved livelihoods.

These programs and statements highlight the importance of irrigation and water management for agriculture to stimulate intensification and productivity gains in African agriculture. "For example, the 2014 Malabo Declaration explicitly stated that reliable access to water is essential to increase agricultural production and mitigate drought in Africa" said the Burkinabe government representative, adding that "to improve water management for agriculture to support smallholders' agricultural production is therefore a top priority for realizing Agenda 2063's vision of a peaceful and prosperous Africa.” In conclusion, he expressed the hope that with the validation of the document, Africa will have "a truly continental framework that will serve as a real model for Member States to formulate and implement their comprehensive Irrigation Development and Water Management Plans for the future Agriculture ".

In the meantime, the AU Coordinator SAFGRAD, in his welcome remarks, emphasized the great interest that African policy makers have always shown for the development and practices of irrigation as a catalyst for rural economic development. . "At the continental level, the African Union, through a number of decisions and declarations of Heads of State and Government, has always placed water resources management and irrigation at the forefront of its development agenda. Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS said before citing CAADP, the 2004 Sirte Declaration, the Abuja Summit on Food Security in Africa 2006, the commitments of AU Heads of State and Government. taken in Sharm El Sheikh in 2008, the 2009 Sirte Declaration, the 2014 Malabo Declaration and Agenda 2063 and its ten-year action plan to move towards "the Africa we want" ... all things that bring emphasizes irrigation as a "key element in achieving modern agriculture for increased production, productivity and value added".

Dr. Paul ORENGO from AMCOW recognized that the framework is well aligned to AMCOW’s priority strategic areas as outlined in their Strategic Plan 2018-2030. “We believe this framework will support includes knowledge management and information sharing, improved water use efficiency, effective transboundary water management as related AWM, among others”, he said before adding that : “AMCOW believes that this is an important first step in promoting multi-sectorial planning and coordination as relates water resources, and agricultural management”.

The validated framework at the Stakeholders’ review workshop will be submitted to the next DREA STS (ARDWE) for Ministerial endorsement.

Group pic

  Group Picture at the openning ceremony

Presidium Final

 Openning Ceremony chaired by the Host Country (Burkina Faso)

Participants final

 A view of the Participants during the validation workshop


 Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS at the openning ceremony

SG Min Agr BF

  Dr. Lamourdia THIOMBIANO, Representing Hon. Minister of Agriculture of Burkina Faso


Dr. Paul ORENGO, AMCOW Representative


An Article published by l'OBSERVATEUR PAALGA, One of the most popular newspapers in Burkina Faso



Retenez bien la date: l'UA SAFGRAD organise un Dialogue Politique de Haut Niveau sur la “Migration, la Dégradation des Terres, et le Développement Durable dans les Pays du Sahel ”. Ouagadougou, Burkina faso, 27-29 Juillet 2019

Un Dialogue Politique de Haut Niveau sur la :  

“Migration, la Dégradation des Terres, et le Développement Durable dans les Pays du Sahel ” 

En Commémoration de l’année des Réfugiés, des Rapatriés et des Personnes Déplacées de l’Union Africaine: Vers des Solutions Durables au Déplacement Forcé en Afrique 

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 25-27 juin 2019


  1. Contexte et justification 


Les facteurs environnementaux jouent un rôle dans les mouvements des populations, et la migration en retour a un impact sur l’environnement. A titre d’exemple, la migration interne causée par le processus d’urbanisation est parfois liée à la dégradation de l’environnement et aux catastrophes environnementales qui obligent les agriculteurs et d’autres populations rurales à quitter leurs terres. Par ailleurs, la présence d’un grand nombre de personnes déplacées dans les camps de réfugiés et sur les sites d’hébergement de Personnes Déplacées à l’interne (PDI) peut produire des effets néfastes sur l’environnement local. La dimension environnementale doit par conséquent occuper une place de plus en plus importante dans la formulation des politiques sur la migration et le déplacement forcé.


Dans les discussions du processus de Rio+20, la migration a été reconnue comme étant de plus en plus importante et pertinente pour les dimensions sociales, économiques et environnementales du développement durable. Les inégalités à l’échelle mondiale, le manque d’emplois décents, la pauvreté, les conflits, les inégalités et la discrimination basées sur le genre, le terrorisme et la pression climatique continuent de pousser les populations à une quête d’une vie meilleure à l’étranger. Le lien entre Environnement/ Agriculture Durable et migration est complexe au vu des autres facteurs socio-économiques qui amènent les populations à se déplacer, soit volontairement ou par nécessité. Certaines estimations montrent cependant que les évènements extrêmes (inondations, sécheresses etc.) et la dégradation de l’environnement (désertification, érosion du sol etc.,) qui seront exacerbés par les changements climatiques– feront partir ou se déplacer de manière définitive environ 200 millions de personnes d’ici 2050. La migration est par conséquent au centre de plusieurs questions relatives au développement durable telles que l’agriculture, la sécurité alimentaire, l’eau et l’énergie.

Au niveau mondial et en Afrique, la contribution fondamentale et multiforme que pourrait apporter la migration au développement est aujourd’hui largement reconnue. Avec l’adoption des Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD) en 2015, et les références explicites à la migration dans six des 17 objectifs, la migration a été intégrée dans la politique de développement mondial.

L’UA a lancé en 2015 la stratégie de développement de l’Afrique pour la prochaine moitié du siècle, à travers l’adoption de l’Agenda 2063, qui aspire à une Afrique intégrée et politiquement unie et appelle à la libre circulation des personnes, des capitaux, des biens et des services.

L’Union Africaine reconnaît le rôle crucial de la migration et des personnes déplacées dans le développement socio-économique du continent, d’où la décision des Chefs d’Etat et de Gouvernement au cours de leur Sommet de janvier 2019 de déclarer cette année, celle de la migration sous le thème de: L’Année des Refugiés, Rapatriés et Personnes Déplacées: Vers des Solutions Durables au Déplacement Forcé en Afrique. Le Cadre Politique de la Migration de l’Union Afrique (CPMA) a été adopté depuis 2006 à Banjul comme l’un des rares cadres politiques régionaux faisant référence au lien entre la migration et l’environnement, y compris l’exode rural dû à la dégradation environnementale et aux catastrophes et les effets de la migration forcée sur l’environnement.

Au niveau régional, l’Afrique de l’Ouest et le Sahel en particulier font face depuis ces dix dernières années à des déplacements massifs de populations aussi bien à l’intérieur des pays qu’à travers les frontières. La région est affectée par une insécurité et une instabilité récurrentes. Au cours de ces dernières décennies, plusieurs conflits armés ont éclaté dans la région (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Tchad etc.). Le déplacement des populations affecte aussi bien l’environnement que les systèmes de production des moyens d’existences. C’est dans ce contexte que le Bureau de l’union Africaine en charge de la Recherche et Développement dans les zones semi-aride de l’Afrique (UA - SAFGRAD) et la division Environnement, Changement Climatique, Eau et Gestion des Terres (ECCWLM) de la CUA avec l’appui des partenaires projettent un Dialogue Politique de Haut Niveau (DPHN) qui se tiendra à Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso du 25 au 27 juin 2019. 


2. Objectifs du Dialogue 


Le dialogue politique de haut niveau vise à permettre aux Etats Membres du G5 Sahel d’avoir une position commune afin d’élaborer une stratégie régionale harmonisée pour une gestion cohérente de la migration dans la région en se focalisant sur des thématiques spécifiques ayant un impact direct telles que la Protection de l’Environnement, la Production Durable des Moyens d’Existence, la Promotion du Pastoralisme, etc.


Les objectifs spécifiques du dialogue politique de haut niveau sont entre autres: 


ü  Réunir les ministres en charge de l’Environnement des divers pays (G5 et hors du G5) et des experts pour partager leurs expériences et leurs réponses relatives aux réalités des mouvements induits par les problèmes environnementaux dans leurs sociétés respectives et identifier des pratiques efficaces de réduction de la vulnérabilité;


ü  Donner l’occasion à ces pays de discuter des différentes dimensions du renforcement des capacités indispensables à la gestion de l’impact multiforme des changements climatiques et de la dégradation de l’environnement sur la mobilité humaine;


ü  Echanger des idées novatrices de partenariats multi-parties prenantes à toutes les étapes du processus de migration, y compris des stratégies pour une approche globale visant à garantir une protection et une assistance efficaces aux migrants environnementaux.


ü  Faciliter les pays du Sahel à élaborer des politiques sous régionales harmonisées et des réponses collectives pour gérer les migrations,


ü  Mieux comprendre le lien entre la dégradation de l'environnement, l'insécurité alimentaire et l'instabilité dans la région


ü  Promouvoir le plaidoyer pour l'intégration de la migration liée à l'environnement dans les cadres nationaux et régionaux  


3. Résultats attendus 


La Discussion en Panel sur la Migration et le Développement Durable devra:


ü  Approfondir la compréhension sur les relations entre la migration et le développement durable, y compris les tendances, les schémas, les opportunités et les défis émergeants;.



ü  Expliquer les causes profondes de la migration en relation avec le changement climatique et la dégradation de l'environnement


ü  Promouvoir des politiques nationales efficaces ainsi qu’une coopération et des dialogues régionaux sur la migration et le développement durable et partager les expériences réussies et les leçons tirées;


ü  Promouvoir la collaboration et les synergies entre les ministères ainsi que les parties prenantes concernées


ü  Identifier les points d'entrée potentiels du pacte mondial sur la migration


ü  Une déclaration ministérielle sur le sujet qui serait transmise aux organes compétents de l’Union africaine 







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