Nineteen of the top recording artists from across Africa have come together to help rebrand agriculture, encourage African youth to be involved in agriculture, urge African leaders to scale up public investments in agriculture, and challenge African governments to create agriculture related employment opportunities for the youth.
Only 27% of African countries have already met the hunger-reduction target outlined by the Millennium Development Goal number one, to halve the proportion of chronically hungry people between 1990 and 2015. Hunger has been increasing on the African continent with over 220 million Africans (nearly one out of every five Africans) undernourished. It is in this light that the focus by the musicians is noble.
However, the musicians should also cast their net wide and probe why developed and re-emerging economy elites are ganging up with short term focused African elites to rob farmers of the ability to feed the continent through land grabbing sprees. They should probe why international banks are quick to finance outsiders with agro loans to feed Africa and produce bio-fuels as opposed to financing indigenous entrepreneurs. The musicians must challenge African leaders to institute measures that will enable African citizenry to convert the continent’s prevailing challenges such as disease, poor infrastructure, poor shelter, illiteracy and lack of value addition to products into employment creation opportunities. The Musicians’ bid, while noble, should not be mere hype but a goal oriented move with measurable goals and practical timelines.