The President of the African Development Bank President (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina on Monday stated that Africa has the necessary partnerships and technologies to eradicate hunger, saying all that is needed is action including robust financing.
Adesina made this bold statement while speaking during the opening session of the 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week (AASW) in Durban, South Africa.
The event was organised by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) with the government of South Africa, The African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Other partners include the UN’s IFAD and UNIDO as well as the European Commission.
He said, “We must pull together the best of science, technology, and innovations to drive a more productive, efficient, and more competitive agricultural system,” Adesina said this in an audience of stakeholders in agriculture and agribusiness research and innovation in Africa.
Speaking further, Adesina said African food systems have the potential to unleash $1 trillion in value over the next seven years.
“For that to be achieved, we must strengthen and support the CGIAR with a lot more resources, ensure that it works in and delivers for Africa based on our priorities, and support regional research and development institutions, such as FARA and the sub-regional agricultural research organizations,” he said.
African Development Bank initiatives to boost African food security include the Feed Africa Summit, held in January in the Senegalese capital Dakar. It brought together 34 heads of state and government.
“Working with development partners from around the world and the African Union Commission, the private sector companies, and global and national agricultural research centres, we developed Food and Agricultural Delivery Compacts for 41 countries,” Adesina said.
He added that summit partners have built on its success, mobilizing $72 billion so far, to support the national compacts.
Also speaking, AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko said the event could not have come at a better time, as the world is in the midst of a hunger pandemic caused by cascading factors, including Covid-19 and climate change.
Africa needs to leverage its potential, including science, and be proactive rather than reactive to shocks, she said. She urged the continent to take advantage of its youthful population and immense natural capital. “Let us unlock the potential we have… We should feed Africans and we should feed the world,” Sacko said.
FARA Chairperson, Alioune Fall spoke about the interlocking relationship between climate change and agricultural production. “Climate change and its effect on the continent require new ways of doing things in almost all facets of our society.”
Fall added, “Africa’s young farmers would not adopt nature-based approaches unless “they are well packaged, affordable and technology-serviced.”