As an African leader to be, I identify proper management of natural resources as an opportunity or rather the best approach to promote African intra-trade which will, in turn, unlock agricultural potential in the entire African continent. Rapid urbanization is indeed taking place all over Africa although most African countries still endure numerous challenges like adverse climate change which hinder agricultural potential. Depending on the situation, climate changes can have either positive or negative effects on the environment, people and agriculture. As a leader in a bustling African metropolis, I have to approach this situation in an innovative way to ensure that climate change challenges are solved through appropriate management of natural resources. Generally, adverse climate changes in African countries have caused havoc and hunger since time immemorial and this situation is yet to change. Mismanagement of natural resources has greatly limited the potential of agricultural sectors in various economies entirely in Africa which has prompted global inter-trade while crippling African intra-trade. The African continent is globally ranked top for its great heritage in natural resources and I am a firm believer that if these resources are utilized appropriately, vision 2030 would be a real deal and not farfetched. Climate change challenge which is a great impediment to agricultural potential is as a result of Africa not conserving its natural resources like forests which are water catchment areas and trees which help attract rain. Harsh climatic conditions which at times cause either drought or floods in Africa will be prevented if natural resources are not abused for selfish gain but instead well managed by respective authorities to sustain African intra-trade. Cartels and corruption which are major threats to Africa's agricultural economy make management and sustainability of natural resources difficult. I recognize efforts by African leaders to boost African intra-trade. For instance, “In March 2018, African countries signed the African Continental Free Area Agreement (AfCFTA) which is a commitment by African countries to remove tariffs on ninety percent of goods, liberalize trade in services and address a host of another non-tariff barrier. If successfully implemented, the agreement will create a single African market with not only enormous financial potential but also the enormous agricultural potential of over a billion consumers with a total GDP of over $3 trillion. This will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world” (Songwe, 2019). This is a good move, although much needs to be done. My Innovative approach would be, centralization of the management of natural resources and agriculture i.e. from the country level to continental level as this would be the true basis of reviving and promoting African intra-trade. For example, the African Union could consider establishing a body and formulating policies to govern natural resources in entire Africa as this would ensure sustainability. I, therefore, conclude that natural resources must be well managed and preserved in order to tackle agricultural challenges in Africa, promote African intra-trade and unlock agricultural potential in the continent. REFERENCES Songwe, V. (2019, January 19). Intra-African trade: A path to economic diversification and inclusion. Brookings. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/intra-african-trade-a-path-to-economic-diversification-and-inclusion/
Industrial agriculture has become one of the main sources of development in African countries. Given the fact that Africa has become a palm oil new frontier for many investors. Land grabbing has become very common in many African countries including Cameroon. Cameron has plans to become an emerging country in 2035 and Agriculture is one of the axes where focus will be put to achieve it. This means more land will be allocated and more conflict will occur. Large scale land attribution for agriculture has become to do more harm than good to some communities. Cameroon can't develop without protecting its communities and its forests. Our land is our heritage; communities depend on the forests. Therefore, there is a need of combining development to forest protection and indigenous communities' rights. Development needs to benefit first the local communities and then Cameroon government. In this case, what is the impact and what could be the solution of developing our country without getting our resources plundered? Today, with the persistent population growth, climate change, deforestation, as well as urbanization have an adverse impact on the availability of fertile lands and other natural resources. At the same time, competition for limited agricultural areas increases due to the growing demand in national and international markets for food and biomass. The increase of land sales and land leases in Cameroon purchase or long-term leases to grow food for export in general, quick benefits from large investments for the sake of increasing Gross Domestic Product (as said). Which is creating pressure to rural land uses with less local economic contributions, leading to an often irreversible conversion of traditional land uses, competition, land grabbing, conflict and loose of our forest. Large scale land allocation for agriculture development has a huge impact on local and indigenous communities. For the simple reasons that land scale land acquisition usually happens with land grabbing, local laws that do not prohibit foreign companies from acting illegally (without impunities). In addition, non-proper consultation of the indigenous community. To begin with, land grabbing usually occurs because no proper consultation and consent is made with local and indigenous communities. Communities are not properly consulted, or are sidelined during the process. Sacred sites are destroyed; indigenous communities are displaced out from the forest without relocation site. The consultation process is usually marred with corruption. It is notably, the case of a company in the South region of Cameroon, which started their operation without proper consultation and proper compensation. Secondly, despite the current existing national law on the acquisition process, most foreign companies do not follow the process. Furthermore, according to the land tenure law of Cameroon a company which wants to develop either an agriculturally project or not (of about 10000 ha or more), a decree has to be signed by the President of Cameroon before the company can start making plans to develop the area. However, most companies in Cameroon do not always follow the law, most of them are exploiting the areas without a proper decree signed by the president. Within the same legal line, free prior and consent process need to occur before they can be grant the concession. Following this further, some chiefs are being manipulation by fake promises of development and money to be paid to them monthly. The concept of land use planning is very much related to the economic prosperity of local communities and the respect of their right on the land. A comprehensive plan can be a tool for planning the future growth or decline of a local community. Most importantly, a good land use plan can be used to address the constant change and evolution of a community related to the forest or not. First of all, land use planning is referred to as land use plans—they often deal with issues related to the appropriate uses of land. Secondly, the process of developing this plan should be a community-wide effort. After all, it is for the community. The citizens of the community should have a say regarding the future of their community. In order to prevent land-grabbing and deforestation for large scale industrial agriculture, land use planning is necessary in Cameroon. With every land a story unfolds about the current and future state of the territory. Land-use planning is important for asserting right and community's values on the development of a Nation's traditional territory, and is an opportunity to engage local and indigenous communities in determining the future use of its natural resources.