African agriculture and the rural economy suffer from low productivity, limited diversification and continuous degradation. Sustainable development of agriculture and the rural economy is critical for ensuring food security and poverty reduction in Africa. The African Union Commission considers the development of agriculture and the rural economy as a necessary condition for promoting accelerated economic, social and political development, and for attaining its shared vision of building an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, an Africa driven and managed by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena. The Directorate of Rural Economy and Agriculture (REA) is one of eight portfolio Directorates of the Commission given the mandate to initiate, promote and facilitate the implementation of policies, strategies and programs that can contribute to the transformation of the rural economy by increasing agricultural productivity, conserving and protecting natural resources as well as enhancing environmental sustainability. To more efficiently and effectively contribute to the AU Commission�s vision, the REA Directorate has an elaborate strategic plan that will guide its actions over the next four years (2004-2007). The plan identifies the strategic objectives and outputs to be achieved and defines the activities and strategies for accomplishing the outputs. It envisages actions that address four strategic objectives through six program areas. Successful implementation of the plan, it is believed, will help create enabling conditions and facilitate actions to improve agricultural productivity, reduce food insecurity and rural poverty as well as to ensure sustainable management of natural resources and the environment.