AFRICA – The African Development Bank Group has pledged to invest US$10 billion over the next 5 years to support Africa’s hunger eradication and food security efforts.
Bank Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, revealed the Bank’s commitment at the Africa Food Summit in Diamniadio, east of the Senegalese capital of Dakar.
The summit was attended by more than a thousand delegates including 34 heads of state, 70 government ministers, the private sector, farmers, development partners, and corporate executives.
The bank head urged all the participants at the summit to work out compacts that would deliver food and agriculture transformation at scale across Africa.
He further encouraged them to take collective action to unlock the continent’s agricultural potential to become a global breadbasket.
“We must strongly support farmers, especially smallholder farmers, majority of whom are women, and get more young people into agriculture,” Adesina said.
“And we must take agriculture as a business, not a development activity, and boost support to the private sector.”
The Dakar 2 summit — under the theme Feed Africa: food sovereignty and resilience — takes place amid supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Government of Senegal and the African Development Bank Group are co-hosting the summit, eight years after the inaugural Dakar 1 summit where the newly elected Adesina announced the Bank’s Feed Africa strategy.
Opening the summit, President Sall — who is also the African Union chairperson — said the time had come for the continent to feed itself by adding value and stepping up the use of technology.
Sall said: “From the farm to the plate, we need full food sovereignty, and we must increase land under cultivation and market access to enhance cross-border trade.”
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the Dakar summit was timely and would provide innovative solutions to help Africa become less dependent on food imports.
Mahamat commended the African Development Bank for rolling out transformative initiatives, including a $1.5 billion emergency food production facility in 2022 to help African countries avert a potential food crisis following Russia’s war in Ukraine.
In his message to the summit, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged that Africa was currently facing the challenges of climate change and food insecurity. He pledged the UN’s support to help Africa become a global food powerhouse.
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