The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization, today pledged to work closely with African leaders to address rising hunger on the continent and shore up adequate financing to transform and modernize Africa’s food production.
The impact of climate change, rising fragility and conflict, and locust invasions in East and Southern Africa are taking a toll on the continent.
A two-day high-level dialogue will focus on modernizing food production, making African agriculture more business-oriented, and strengthening agriculture value chains.
Finding solutions will require strong backing from governments, development partners, and the private sector.
The virtual event brought together government officials, heads of multilateral development banks, development partners, regional organizations, research institutions, business leaders, private sector operators, investment agencies, participants from academia, civil society organizations, and experts from across Africa and beyond.
The dialogue is an opportunity to share achievements and lessons from across the African continent and accelerate agricultural transformation.
Across the continent, hunger poses an even greater risk than Covid-19. The number of people living with hunger increased from 214 million to 246 million between 2015 and 2020. Agricultural and agro-business-related activities could provide employment opportunities for millions of young Africans, who account for 70% of the population.
Transforming commitments into action, the parties are expected to announce new financing to support food transformation and the creation of jobs in Africa’s agro-industry.
“Getting new and appropriate technologies into the hands of African farmers is a key part of addressing Africa’s agriculture and food security needs. Unless we show strong collective resolve and turn ambition into reality, we will be confronted with enormous food shortages on the continent,” African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said. “Rapid population growth, urbanization, and ongoing climate change will make this certain. The consequences of not acting would be devastating.”
“Africa has the potential to feed itself and feed the world,” said IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo. “If we commit today to increase investments in modernizing agriculture, providing skills, finance, and better access to food value chains, agriculture has the potential to become a thriving and successful sector that creates jobs and provides livelihoods for small-scale farmers and rural populations – in particular, for millions of young Africans joining the job market.”
Enhanced productivity, integrated value chains, and economies of scale are at the heart of Africa’s food security challenge.
The food security summit will showcase the African Development Bank’s highly successful Technologies for African Agricultural Technologies (TAAT) and other development partner success stories.
The virtual dialogues will include heads of state of 18 African countries; Agnès Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food System Summit; Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change; and the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Islamic Development Bank Group, Afreximbank, and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, among others.