AfDB to make Africa breadbasket investing $10 billion – New Business Ethiopia
The African Development Bank Group, will commit $10 billion over the next five years to boost Africa’s efforts to end hunger and become a primary food provider for itself and the rest of the world.
Dr Akinwumi Adesina was the Bank Group President. She made this announcement Wednesday at Dakar 2 Africa Food Summit. It took place in Diamniadio (east of Dakar), the Senegalese capital. Adesina urged more than 34 heads and 70 ministers of state, the private sector, farmers and development partners to come together to create compacts that would bring about food and agricultural transformation across Africa. He encouraged them to take collective action to unlock the continent’s agricultural potential to become a global breadbasket.
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. More than 1000 delegates and dignitaries attended the summit, including the President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland.
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.”
Moussa Faki Mahmat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, stated that the Dakar summit was timely. It would provide innovative solutions for Africa to reduce its dependence on imports.
“Food sovereignty should be our new weapon of freedom,” Mahamat told the gathering. Mahamat urged the gathering to join existing structures like Agenda 2063 and African Continental Free Trade Area for sustainable transformation.
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.
The President of Kenya, William Ruto, said, “It is a shame that 60 years after independence, we are gathered to talk about feeding ourselves. We can and we must do better.”The African Development Bank Group chief said: “Today over 283 million Africans go to bed hungry every day. This is unacceptable. No mother should ever have to struggle with rumbling of the stomach of a hungry child.”
“We must raise the bar. We must increase our ambition. We must be bold and say: It is time to feed Africa. The moment is right at the right time. Feed Africa; we must,” said Adesina.
The bank head urged the leaders to turn political will into decisive actions to deliver food security for Africa, “We must strongly support farmers, especially smallholder farmers, majority of whom are women, and get more young people into agriculture. And we must take agriculture as a business, not a development activity, and boost support to the private sector.”
President Higgins of Ireland said with Africa’s young population accounting for about 20% of the world’s young people, the continent had great potential. He stated that the rest of the globe would be inspired by it in the future.
“Let us make this century Africa’s Century, one which will see the continent become free from hunger,” Higgins said.
Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, acknowledged that Africa was facing challenges from climate change as well as food insecurity. The price of fertilizers had risen due to the Russia-Ukraine War, making it more difficult to obtain them. He pledged the UN’s support to help Africa become a global food powerhouse.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria stated that countries should offer more support to farmers, allocate a portion of the national budget to agriculture and encourage women and youth to start farming.
Buhari said: “Feeding Africa is imperative. We must ensure we feed ourselves today, tomorrow, and well into the future.”
Nigeria’s president praised Dr. Adesina, the African Development Bank, and for establishing special agroindustrial processing zones throughout the continent, including in Nigeria.
He said: “Special agro-industrial processing zones are game changers for the structural development of the agriculture sectors. They will help us generate wealth, develop integrated infrastructure around special agro-processing zones, and add value.”
The summit will see private sector players commit to national food delivery compacts and other structural reforms during the three-day summit.
Finance ministers and central bank governors are expected to devise financing arrangements to implement the food- and agriculture delivery contracts, together with agriculture ministers, private sector actors, commercial banks, financial institution and multilateral partners.