The African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organisation, have pledged to work closely with African leaders to address rising hunger in the continent.
They also pledged to provide 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, they noted.
According to a statement, a two-day high-level dialogue in this regard focused on modernising food production, making African agriculture more business oriented, and strengthening agriculture value chains.
The dialogue was 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 per cent 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,” the statement noted.
The statement also quoted the African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to have said that getting new and appropriate technologies into the hands of African farmers is a key part of addressing Africa’s agriculture and food security needs.
He said, “Unless we show strong collective resolve and turn ambition into reality, we will be confronted with enormous food shortages on the continent,”
The IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo said rapid population growth, urbanization and ongoing climate change will need to be addressed.
He said, “Africa has the potential to feed itself and feed the world, If we commit today to increasing 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.”
Finding solutions will require strong backing from governments, development partners and the private sector, it noted.
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.