Over $17bn has been pledged by a coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners in Africa to address rising hunger and improve food security on the African continent.
These funds were committed on the final day of a two-day high-level dialogue themed: ‘Feeding Africa: Leadership To Scale Up Successful Innovations’, recently hosted by the African Development Bank, AfDB, United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, FARA, and the CGIAR System Organisation.
The commitment was signed by 17 African heads of state to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies (investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development).
Out of the pledged sum, more than $10bn came from the AfDB, which said it would invest $1.57bn on scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years, while another $8.83bn will go towards building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years.
AfDB President Akinwumi 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 said it hopes to provide an additional $1.5bn to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems in Africa over the next three years, adding that it will also invest more in creating the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity.
“We praise the African leaders’ commitment to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security for millions of Africans. By modernizing African agriculture, small-holder farmers will be in a better position to bring more affordable food to consumers and create decent livelihoods for millions of young Africans involved in the processing, storage and marketing of food,” IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo said.
Also, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, BADEA, committed up to $1.5bn over the period 2020-2024 in agriculture. The Islamic Development Bank Group said it would earmark $3.5bn to develop the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years. It said these investments will develop commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in an additional show of solidarity, declared that it will invest $652 million in the next three years to support agricultural research and development initiatives in Africa. This funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with a host of new innovations.
President Macky Sall of Senegal summed up interventions by African heads of state on Thursday with the following seven-point action list:
- Accelerate agricultural production by taking technologies to scale
- Increase investment in research and development
- Optimise technology
- Improve business language in agriculture to open up to the world
- Support access to markets and the installation of basic infrastructure and equipment
- Invest in new businesses to transform agricultural produce to support small producers.
- Create a financing facility for food security and nutrition in Africa
Furthermore, the outcomes from the Leaders’ Dialogue will be communicated to the UN Secretary General as Africa’s commitments towards the UN Food Systems Summit in September this year.
This will lay the foundation for Africa to present a unified voice to step up efforts and partnerships towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs by 2030.