Africa has recognized that enhanced agricultural performance is key to growth and poverty reduction through its direct impact on: Job creation and increasing opportunities, especially for women and youth; Food security and improved nutrition, and strengthening resilience.
At the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the "Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa" (Assembly/AU/Decl. 7(II)). The Declaration contained several important decisions regarding agriculture, but prominent among them was the “commitment to the allocation of at least 10% of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years” 7 . In addition, a 6% annual growth in agricultural GDP is also recommended.
In April 2001, the African Union countries met and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector and urged donor countries to scale up support.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda encourages countries to set nationally appropriate spending targets for education. National contexts are diverse, but the following international and regional benchmarks are crucial reference points: allocating at least 4% to 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) to education; and/or allocating at least 15% to 20% of public expenditure to education. The Incheon Declaration urged adherence to these benchmarks and expressed determination to increase public spending on education in accordance with country contexts.
Government debt as a percentage of GDP. Debt levels are unsustainable, as they exceed national and SADC thresholds for debt-to-GDP ratio. Section 11(2) of the Public Debt Management Act requires that the total outstanding public and publicly guaranteed debt as a ratio of GDP should not exceed 70% at the end of any fiscal year. SADC has a 60% threshold, to which Zimbabwe assented to through ratification of the Finance and Investment Protocol.