From Uche Usim, Abuja
To ensure food security in Africa, the African Development Bank Group has announced plans to commit $10 billion over the next five years to end hunger on the continent and turn it into a primary global food provider.
AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, made the disclosure on Wednesday at the Dakar 2 Africa Food Summit in Diamniadio, east of the Senegalese capital of Dakar.
The Dakar 2 summit themed Feed “Africa: food sovereignty and resilience” takes place amid supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. More than a thousand delegates and dignitaries attended, including the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
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 stated: “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.”
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission 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,” Mahamat told the gathering. He urged development partners to work together within existing structures, such as Agenda 2063 and the 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 not acceptable. No mother should ever have to struggle with the rumbling of the stomach of a hungry child.”“We must raise the bar. We must raise our ambition. We must arise and say to ourselves: it is time to feed Africa. The timing is right, and the moment is now. 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.”