By Lucy Ogalue
African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says Africa has the necessary partnerships and technologies to eradicate hunger.
In a statement issued on the banks website, Adesina said what Africa needed was action, including robust financing to achieve this.
He spoke during the opening session of the 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week (AASW), in Durban, South Africa, on Monday.
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), organised the event in collaboration with the South African government, the African Union Commission (AUC), AfDB and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Other partners included the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), as well as the European Commission.
Adesina said: “We must pull together the best of science, technology, and innovations to drive a more productive, efficient, and more competitive agricultural system.”
According to him, Africa’s food systems have the potential to unleash 1 trillion dollars 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 organisations,” he said.
He said one of the bank’s initiatives targeted at boosting African food security was the Feed Africa Summit, held in January in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
According to him, this brought together 34 heads of states and governments.
“Working with development partners from around the world and the AUC, the private sector companies, and global and national agricultural research centers, we developed Food and Agricultural Delivery Compacts for 41 countries.
“The summit partners have built on its success, mobilising 72 billion dollars so far, to support the national compacts.”
Adesina thereafter, presented the 2023 FARA Leadership Prizes for Advancing Agricultural Science, Technology, and Innovation in Africa to some personalities.
“They include, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organisation; AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Amb. Josefa Sacko and FARA’s Executive Director Dr Yemi Akinbamijo.
“Others are Senegal’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure, Papa Abdoulaye Seck, and Afreximbank President, Prof. Benedict Oramah.”
The AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, said the event could not have come at a better time.
Sacko said this was because the world was in the midst of a hunger pandemic caused by cascading factors, including COVID-19 and Climate Change.
She said: “Africa needs to leverage on its potential, including science, and be proactive rather than reactive to shocks.
‘“Let us continue to take advantage of the continent’s youthful population and immense natural capital.
“And let us unlock the potential we have. We should feed Africans and we should feed the world,” Sacko added.
The 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.
“Africa’s young farmers will not adopt nature-based approaches unless they are well packaged, affordable and technology-serviced, Fall said”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Adesina won the award in 2016.
The 8th AASW, is the main continental platform for stakeholders of agriculture and agribusiness research and innovation in Africa.
It brings together 1,500 stakeholders every three years, to take stock of progress on research and innovation, share information, create business alliances, and map out priorities for joint action.
The 7the AASW was held in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2016. (NAN)