By Wellington Zimbowa
AFRICA gears to double agriculture production through a joint US$17 billion pledge to boost food security amid worrying revelations that about 300 million of her people sleep on empty stomachs, every day.
A recent press statement by the African Development Bank (AfDB), disclosed this following a two-day high–level dialogue, running under the theme: “Feeding Africa: Leadership to scale up successful innovations”.
“African countries commit to double agricultural productivity as development banks and partners pledge over US$17billion to increase food security.
“A coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners has pledged over $17 billion in financing to address rising hunger on the African continent and to improve food security,” read the statement.
AFDB and the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) hosted the online event in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization from the 29th to 30th April.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa joined his continental counterparts Presidents such as Angolan João Lourenço’s, Botswana’s Mokgweetsi Masisi’s, Burkina Faso’s Roch Kabore and Ghana’s.
The leaders signed a commitment to boost agricultural production – which is a key socio-economic cog in Africa – by doubling current productivity levels, through the scaling up of agro-technologies.
Investment to access to markets and promotion of agricultural research and development are some of the key tenets of the joint drive.
“Of the overall amount pledged, more than US$10 billion came from the African Development Bank, which said it would invest US$1.57 billion on scaling up 10-selected priority commodities over the next five years. This will help countries achieve self-sufficiency. Another US$8.83 billion will go towards building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years. This will include programs to create opportunities for young people – particularly women,” stated AFDB’s statement.
AfDB President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina said, “Let us now create today, a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers.”
IFAD is expected to provide an additional US$1.5 billion to support national efforts to transform Africa’s food and agricultural systems in the next 3-years.
The agency will also prime to create the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity and is currently developing a growing pipeline of investments to restore land, create jobs and build resilience to climate change in the Sahel region.
By Wellington Zimbowa