African Leaders discuss agriculture, food security in Senegal

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By Alfred Koroma

Over 1,500 people, including Heads of State and Government, Ministers, Governors of Central Banks as well as private sector stakeholders, multilateral organisations, non-governmental organisations, academics and scientists are in Senegal to chat on enhancing agriculture and food security in Africa.

Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio is also in attendance of the summit, dubbed as the 2nd Edition of Dakar Summit on Agriculture and Agribusiness.

The summit which is being held at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre in Diamniadio in Dakar is part of a collective development programme of African governments to revitalise the Continent’s economy and food security.

 “Feed Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience” is the focus of the meeting which has converged more than 1,500 people in Dakar.

Making a statement during the opening ceremony of the meeting, President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina said there was no doubt that the leaders, who had gathered in the French West African nation, were ready to change the course of history for Africa in two words: ‘Feed Africa’, adding that his heart and determination were that Africa could feed itself.

“While gains have been made in recent times, with agricultural growth in several countries, the continent remains over-dependent on food imports. Africa currently imports over 100 million metric tons of food, valued at $75 billion annually.

“Today over 283 million Africans go to bed hungry every day. This is not acceptable. No mother should ever have to struggle with rumbling of the stomach of a hungry child,” he urged.

With 65% of the uncultivated arable land left in the world being in Africa, what Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world. The recent disruptions of global food supplies have revealed again Africa’s vulnerabilities, says Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of AfDB;  World Food Prize Winner and former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, saying Africa could and needed to feed itself.

 “To mitigate the effects of the Russian-Ukraine war on food availability in Africa, the African Development Bank immediately launched a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Production Facility. The Facility approved operations for 34 countries within eight weeks.

“The facility is now supporting 20 million farmers in Africa to produce 38 million metric tons of food worth $12 billion. We do not work alone. Our efforts complement global initiatives from the G7, Europe and other development partners,” he announced.

Adesina called on leaders to make agriculture and agribusiness very attractive to the youth and support women-owned and women-led agribusinesses, adding that the size of the food and agriculture market on the continent would rise to $1 trillion by 2030 and that agriculture needed to become Africa’s new wealth.

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