The summit is meant to discuss the threats to the continent’s food security amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and the existing severe impacts of climate change. It also explores the avenues and mechanisms that should enable African countries to improve their food systems and accelerate the agriculture development process.
The event aims to mobilise both high-level political commitment and support of development partners. It also seeks to enlist the support of private sector investment for production, markets and trade to deliver increased food production in African countries. Furthermore, it endeavours to share success stories of food and agricultural production in selected countries that resulted from doubling of agricultural productivity through delivery at scale of climate-adapted crops, livestock and aquaculture technology, advisory services, and success innovation platforms.
It also targets galvanising national governments, development partners, and the private sector around food and agriculture delivery compacts for each country. This is to achieve food security at scale in each country. The event also aims to develop the necessary infrastructure and logistics, with Special Agro-Industrial processing zones, to build markets and competitive food and agriculture value chains.
During his speech, the President of the AfDB Akinwumi Adesina said that Africa needs around $1.5 billion through 2030 to mitigate the impacts of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on the food and agriculture sector in Africa.
In this respect, Adesina stated that the AfDB has launched the African Emergency Food Production Facility, with a total finance of $1.5 billion, that aims to provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds and to increase access to agricultural fertilisers to produce 38 million tons of food.
“It is time to feed Africa. It is time for food and agriculture delivery compacts for Africa. We need more sustainable and strong food systems, as well as making agriculture and agribusiness attractive to young people as a type of lucrative business. Agriculture is the new oil”, Adesina explained.
According to Adesina, the agribusiness market is expected to hit $1 trillion in size by 2050. He announced that a new AfDB commitment of $10 billion will be allocated to support food and agriculture in the continent over the coming five years. The president of AfDB noted that 65 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land is in Africa, while the continent’s population is estimated to hit 2 billion by 2050.
“This uncultivated land could feed 9 billion people by 2050, in the event that it will be seized”, he noted.
“Of 820 million people going hungry globally, 283 million are in Africa. Meanwhile, Africa’s food imports bill costs $75 billion. Africa has the potential to be unlocked to feed itself”, the AfDB president noted.
The Senegalese president, on the other hand, said that the continent has been facing cascading crises: climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and recently the war between Russia and Ukraine. This war, the president said, exacerbated the already bad situation of food and agriculture in Africa.
He added that soaring inflation and rising prices, especially the fillisters, are placing heavy pressure on the continent’s budgets and are negatively affecting its food security. He asserted the dire need for Africa to stop importing food products and to start to feed itself
“According to the UN estimations on the continent, 10 per cent of each country in Africa must be directed to support and improve the agriculture sector in order to achieve food self-efficiency of the continent. In addition, 40 per cent of Africa’s production is lost annually, an issue that needs to be addressed urgently. The international and multilateral partners must play a greater role in this regard”, Sall expounded.
According to the AfDB estimations, the Russia-Ukraine war has led to an unprecedented rise in energy, fertiliser, and food prices – the prices of these items have risen by 40 to 300 percent – while Africa depends on food imports of 30 million metric tons from Russia and Ukraine.
Moreover, climate change has further worsened the continent’s food security situation. The continent is losing between $7 billion and $15 billion worth of food per year and is estimated to lose up to $50 billion worth of food by 2030, according to the AfDB.
The head of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat stressed, on his part, that food shortage could lead to social tensions in African countries, noting that Africa has one-third of the world's hungry.
He added that protecting the food security of the continent and giving the priority to agriculture improvement, as well as fostering its related businesses, represent an urgent priority for Africa to protect its people and future amid the unprecedented ongoing challenges.
Investing in raising agricultural productivity, supporting infrastructure, and climate-smart agricultural systems, with private sector investments all along the food value chain, can help turn Africa into a breadbasket for the world, according to the AfDB.
As per the bank’s data, achieving zero hunger in Africa will require between $28.5 billion and $36.6 billion annually. Furthermore, with the removal of barriers to agricultural development by new investments, it is estimated that Africa’s agricultural output could increase from $280 billion per year to $1 trillion by 2030.
During his speech, the President of Ireland Michael Daniel Higgins praised the establishment of the Fund of Loss and Damage which was launched during the UN Conference of Partners on Climate Change (COP27) that Egypt hosted in November. Higgins highlighted that the fund is an unprecedented achievement in terms of accelerating climate action efforts, especially in Africa.