For the third time in a row, Rwanda emerged the best performing country in implementing the seven commitments of the June 2014 Malabo Declaration, which seeks to end hunger and halve poverty by 2025 through advancing agriculture. The third Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Biennial Review Report launched on Thursday, March 10, 2022, assessed the performance of 51 countries surveyed in 2021 – up from 49 countries in 2019 and 43 in 2017. It is the main mutual accountability tool to track the progress of the African Union (AU) Member States in implementing the Malabo Declaration. In essence, the Malabo Declaration provides the direction for Africa’s agricultural transformation for the period 2015 – 2025, within the Framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), as a vehicle to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the First Ten-year Implementation Plan of Africa’s Agenda 2063. “For this BR cycle, Rwanda is standing out, once again, as the best overall performing country in the continent with regard to implementing the seven commitments of the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods,” the report stated. In this report, countries are considered ‘on-track’ to meet the goals and targets of Malabo Declaration by 2025 if their total score is equal to or higher than the benchmark of 7.28; or ‘progressive’ when their score is equal to or more than 5 but less than 7.28; or ‘not-on-track’ if their score is less than 5. According to the report, while only Rwanda was on-track to meet the goals and targets of Malabo Declaration by 2025, with a score of 7.43 out of a maximum of 10, 19 countries are classified as progressive. With an overall score of 4.32, the survey concluded, the continent was not-on-track to meeting the Malabo goals and targets – which include ending hunger on the continent – by 2025. “Rwanda is committed to implement the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) initiative. Our national programs and processes are well aligned with the continental commitment,” said Gerardine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources. Highlights of five key areas of Rwanda’s strong performance Rwanda had fully implemented the commitment on evidence based policies, supportive institutions and corresponding human resources, and the CAADP Process Completion. Other areas where Rwanda got the maximum score are inclusive institutionalised mechanisms for mutual accountability and peer review, and the quality of multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder coordination. It also got 78 percent for the index of capacity to generate and use agriculture statistical data and information. Highlights of the five key areas that require countrys attention Rwanda has 7.7 percent prevalence of underweight among children under 5 years old, and 6.5 percent proportion of moderate and severe food insecurity in the population, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale. Others are the 7.7 percent growth rate of the proportion of Minimum Dietary Diversity-Women, 33 percent prevalence of stunting among children under 5 years old, and 22 percent proportion of 6-23 months old children who meet the Minimum Acceptable Diet. Recommendations for Rwanda The report recommended that the Government of Rwanda should continue and intensify efforts to address malnutrition, especially among young children under the age of 5 years. It should also continue and scale up efforts to address the challenge of poor dietary diversity among its women population. “Given the good overall performance toward achieving CAADP goals and targets, we encourage the Government of Rwanda support the efforts by the African Union to promote a capacity programme on mutual to share lessons and good practices among Member States in the continent,” another recommendation from the report reads. Enhancing Investment Finance in Agriculture It is to note that for enhancing investment financing in agriculture, four Member States (Egypt, Eswatini, Seychelles and Zambia) were on-track in 2021. However, the report indicated six Member States – Liberia, Botswana, Liberia, Gabon, Rwanda (with7.8 out of 10 points), and Tunisia – have recorded significant positive changes in their respective scores for this commitment, “Given the importance of increased public and private investments in transforming African agriculture, there is urgency for Member States to address the problem of inadequate access to finance for the agricultural sector,” the report recommended. Ending Hunger by 2025 With regards to the commitment to ending hunger by the year 2025, African Union Member States committed to improve access to agricultural inputs and technologies, increase agricultural productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, improve food safety, reduce food and nutrition insecurity, and social protection coverage for the vulnerable groups. During the third review, overall, Kenya was the only country that is on track with a score of 6.40 with respect to this commitment to eliminating hunger by 2025 (the benchmark for this commitment is 6.32 out of 10). However, Member States such as Angola (4.46), The Gambia (4.90), Ethiopia (4.62), Rwanda (5.43), Uganda (4.99), and Zimbabwe (4.97) have made noticeable positive progress in this regard. Halving Poverty through Agriculture by 2025 In 2021, nine Member States out of the 51 were on-track for this indicator. But, of these, only three countries, namely Ghana, Mali and Rwanda, managed to be on-track in all the three reporting cycles starting from 2017. The report highlighted the urgency to build a resilient agriculture sector as the mainstay of the African economies to fast-track the development agenda of the continent.