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Denys Bédarride
4 February 2023 Last update on Saturday, February 4, 2023 At 8:00 AM

The African Development Bank Group will dedicate ten billion dollars over the next five years to help Africa eradicate hunger and become the main supplier of food for itself and for the rest of the world. Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina made the announcement during the Dakar 2 African Food Summit, which is being held in Diamniadio, east of the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Akinwumi Adesina called on the nearly 34 Heads of State and 70 Ministers attending the Summit alongside representatives of the private sector, farmers, development partners and business leaders to craft compacts that would ensure the transformation of the large-scale food and agriculture across Africa. He encouraged them to take collective action to unlock the agricultural potential of the continent and make it a breadbasket for the world.

The Dakar 2 summit, themed “Feeding Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience”, is taking place against the backdrop of supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. More than a thousand delegates and dignitaries attended, including the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.

The government of Senegal and the African Development Bank Group are co-organizing this summit, eight years after the first Dakar 1 summit, during which the newly elected Mr. Adesina presented the Bank’s “ Feed Africa ” strategy .

In his opening address to the summit, the President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall, who is also the current Chairman of the African Union, said that the time had come for the continent to nourish itself by adding value and increasing the use of technology.

Macky Sall said: “From farm to plate, we need full food sovereignty, and we need to increase the area of cultivated land and market access to strengthen cross-border trade. »

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the Dakar summit was timely and would provide innovative solutions to help Africa become less dependent on food imports.

“Food sovereignty should be our new weapon of freedom,” Moussa Faki Mahamat told the assembly. He urged development partners to work together within existing structures, such as Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area, for sustainable transformation.

Moussa Faki Mahamat commended the African Development Bank for rolling out transformative initiatives, such as the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility launched in 2022 to help African countries prevent a possible food crisis in the aftermath of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The President of Kenya, William Ruto, agreed: “It’s a shame that 60 years after our independence, we are meeting to discuss how we are going to be able to feed ourselves. We can and we must do better.”

The President of the African Development Bank Group castigated: “Today, more than 283 million Africans suffer from hunger daily. This is unacceptable. No mother should have to suffer from hearing her child’s stomach growl, ever. »

“We need to set the bar higher. We need to raise our ambition. We must stand up and say to ourselves: it is time to feed Africa. The time is right, and the hour has come. Feeding Africa is what we must do,” pleaded Akinwumi Adesina.

The bank’s president urged leaders to turn political will into decisive action to ensure Africa’s food security: “We must strongly support farmers, especially smallholders, the majority of whom are women, and encourage more young people to enter agriculture. And we need to see agriculture as a business, not a development one, and strengthen support for the private sector. »

The President of the Republic of Ireland, Mr. Higgins, said that with a young population representing around 20% of the world’s young people, Africa has great potential. He said the rest of the world will look up to him in the future.

“Let’s make this century the century of Africa, a century that will see the continent free from hunger,” said Mr. Higgins.

In his message to the summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged that Africa is currently facing the challenges of climate change and food insecurity, as the war between Russia and Ukraine has sparked the price of fertilizers and made their supply difficult.

He pledged UN support to help Africa become a global food power.

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, said countries need to provide better support to farmers, devote a significant portion of the national budget to agriculture, and inspire youth and women to cultivate the land.

Muhammadu Buhari said: “Feeding Africa is imperative. We must ensure that we feed ourselves today, tomorrow and in the future”.

The Nigerian President commended Akinwumi Adesina and the African Development Bank for rolling out Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones across the continent, especially in Nigeria.

“ The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones are a game-changer in terms of the structural development of agricultural sectors, he appreciated. They will help us create wealth, develop integrated infrastructure around these special agro-processing zones, and add value. »

During this three-day summit, private sector actors are called upon to commit to national food and agricultural supply pacts, with a view to guiding policies, creating structural reforms and attracting private sector investment…

Central bank governors and finance ministers should develop financing mechanisms to implement food and agriculture agreements, in collaboration with agriculture ministers, private sector actors, commercial banks , financial institutions and multilateral partners and organizations.

Source: African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

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