The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have expressed their commitment to work with African leaders to redouble efforts at strengthening food security in the continent.
This formed part of the decisions reached at a two-day virtual High-Level Dialogue on “Feeding Africa: Leadership to Scale up Successful Innovations”, hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday.
The commitment was also made in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system organisation.
The international organisations pledged to make adequate funding available to modernise Africa’s food production.
President of AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said getting new and appropriate technologies to African farmers was an important part of addressing Africa’s 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.
“Rapid population growth, urbanisation and ongoing climate change will make this certain. The consequences of not acting would be devastating,” Adesina added.
IFAD President, Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, called for more commitment to increased investment in agriculture for Africa to feed itself and the world.
“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.
“If we commit today to increasing investments in modernising agriculture, providing skills, finance and better access to food value chains”, he said.
The high-level dialogue is focused on modernising food production, making African agriculture more business oriented, and strengthening agriculture value chains.
It is expected to address the vital role of climate-smart technology and innovation as key drivers of high agricultural productivity and resilient food and nutrition systems.
The dialogue will also showcase success stories and enable leaders to discuss options to scale up initiatives, strengthen research and development capacity, as well as forge supportive alliances and partnerships across the food and nutrition ecosystems.
Another outlook for the dialogue is an opportunity to share achievements and lessons from across the continent and accelerate agricultural transformation, the organisers said.
The virtual event brought together government officials, heads of multilateral development banks, development partners, regional organisations, research institutions, business leaders, private sector operators, investment agencies, participants from academia, civil society organisations and experts globally.
Also at the virtual dialogue would be heads of state of 18 African countries; Agnès Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food System Summit; and Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change.
Other high-level delegates include the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), Afreximbank, and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), among others.