One of the three remaining contenders for the, Mr. Ernest Reuben Aubee, said he would work to ensure food security and harnessing of the blue economy in the continent if elected.
The Gambia-born Aubee, who is soliciting votes from AU members ahead of the final election at the end of this month, has over 30-year experience in agriculture and food across grassroots, national, regional and continental levels.
Aubee said he would ensure food and nutrition security, harness potentials of the blue economy and provide safe and sustainable African Union (AU) Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development environment for Africa.
According to him, “my vision is to contribute to the realisation of the seven aspirations of Agenda 2063, in which food and nutrition security is guaranteed.”
To realise this, Aubee, who has spent over 10 years in the ECOWAS Commission’s agric department, said he would institutionalise a strong and strategic leadership in the department through coherent policy and synergy between AU member-states, regional economic communities, development partners and all stakeholders in the various agriculture value chains.
He would also ensure policy coherence among the Agenda 2063, Maputo and Malabo Declarations on agricultural development, regional and national agricultural investment plans for the implementation of Africa’s agriculture agenda towards the transformation of rural livelihoods.
The strategies include ensuring a better coordination and implementation of continental agriculture, nutrition policies and programmes among key African institutions.
He would also rationalise AU agriculture institutions for efficient service delivery, establish Africa Food Safety Authority as a one-stop-shop for all food safety matters, and mobilise resources to boost agricultural development.
Other means of realising the goals include setting up of a multi-disciplinary working group to develop a blue economy strategic framework, and preparing a roadmap for the development of the sector in line with Agenda 2063 and Maritime Strategy 2050.
Meanwhile, Aubee said he was committed to addressing the issue of overfishing, pollution and climate change, and would as well promote biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration of both land and marine resources.
For rural development through agriculture, the candidate hopes to to influence AU member-states to increase investment in rural areas, adding: “I will target rural development programmes that are pro-poor, and the most vulnerable such as women, youths and the physically challenged, and ensure a nexus between research and innovations.”
Optimistic about his chances, Aubee said: “To the glory of God, I have been pre-qualified for the final contest after a keenly contested interview process by a panel of eminent Africans. We are moving towards the end of the process by the end of January and February. I seek your continued prayers and support.”