Zero Hunger in Africa is within reach: Actionable goal or fleeting NY Resolution?

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Zero hunger in Africa is achievable and within reach, say global agricultural leaders. Pic: GettyImages
Zero hunger in Africa is achievable and within reach, say global agricultural leaders. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags zero hunger Africa SDGs African Development Bank Agriculture

Be it a feasible game plan or just a pipedream, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is determined to make good on its pledge to eradicate hunger in Africa by 2030 by mobilising political support ahead of the African Food Summit.

The goal of the Dakar 2 summit is to rally backing for its structural transformation of agriculture in Africa. The region has of late attracted renewed global interest, however, the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has threatened to topple an already fragile situation.

The meeting – themed ‘Unleashing Africa’s Food Potential’ – is being co-convened by the AfDB and the International Fund for Agricultural Research in Dakar, Senegal, from 25-27 January.

The high-level meeting is being hosted by Senegal President Macky Sall, AfDB’s president Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) president Alvaro Lario and the FAO’s director general Qu Dongyum and is expected to attract African heads of State, ministers of Finance and Agriculture, as well as several global development partners.

Already hampered by a deeply inbred poverty and starvation state of affairs, the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in extreme price shocks and a disruption of the supply chains of various commodities across Africa, ranging from wheat and sunflower oil to crude oil. The region has experienced a significant rise of inflation – particularly the cost of food production, everyday shelf prices and fuel expenses. The poorest are the hardest hit as a large proportion of their consumption expenditure is on food and transport.

Inexcusable situation

“It is inexcusable that a continent with 65% of the world’s most arable land and abundant water resources, would still suffer from food insecurity,”​ said Adesina.]

Hunger in Africa 1 yoh44nn
Pic: GettyImages

“The summit is a critical global effort to systematically and proactively help Africa achieve Zero Hunger.”

According to the Bank chief, “We have the technologies, platforms, and resources to change the status quo by energising the private sector, scaling up food production for millions of African farmers, unlocking finance for farmers and agricultural SMEs, and transforming the agriculture and food value chains.”

While congratulating the AfDB on its historic and largest-ever ADF16 donor replenishment, IFAD’s Lario acknowledged the bank’s leadership and the decades-old partnership between the International Fund and the Bank.

The African Development Bank Group and IFAD account for 55% of all multi-development assistance to agriculture in Africa. As co-conveners of the Africa Food Summit in 2023, AfDB and IFAD will work on policy frameworks and food and agriculture delivery compacts.

Clear targets

According to the conveners, performance-based compacts with African governments, development partners and the private sector that meet clear food self-sufficiency targets will be at the core of the Dakar 2 Africa Food Summit.

FAO director general Qu Dongyu said long-term partnerships and joint resources with the AfDB will help leverage and catalyse agricultural projects across the continent.

Africa African hoeing hunger Nikada
Pic: GettyImages

“We must work together on the whole agricultural value chain of food production, food processing, and food marketing in a complementary, pragmatic and results-oriented way. Ensuring food security is the end game,” ​he added.

Recent collaborations between FAO and the AfDB include the identification and preparation of projects in Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea; technical development of blue economy programmes in Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco; and climate-smart agricultural training and multi-stakeholder dialogues on the Bank’s Desert to Power and Great Green Wall initiatives.

The January 2023 Africa Food Summit will also focus on scaling access to technologies and finance for agriculture SMEs and smallholder farmers, increased productivity and the development of seed, storage, electricity, transport logistics and infrastructure.

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