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AfDB urges African leaders to prioritize food systems, sovereignty

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has urged leaders on the continent to prioritize the development of robust food innovative systems and uphold food sovereignty.

Dr. Martin Fregene, the Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industrialization at AfDB, revealed this during the 2023 Africa Food Systems Summit, recently convened in Dar es Salaam.

  • “The 2023 Africa Food Systems Forum is a defining moment for highlighting and unlocking innovation.
  • “It allows us to take stock of the political, policy, and financial commitments African countries have made to achieve productive, nutritious, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable food systems on the continent,” Fregene said.

The event, held alongside Africa’s Annual Agriculture Summit, followed the impactful Dakar 2 Food Summit in Senegal. It united ministers of agriculture from various African nations, including Tanzania, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, and Guinea Bissau, in addition to development partners and private sector stakeholders.

These stakeholders convened to deliberate upon the progress and outcomes achieved in their respective countries since the Dakar 2 summit.

What Tanzania is doing about its food production

Tanzania’s Agriculture Minister, Hussein Bashe, shed light on the strategic actions taken by Tanzania to accelerate food production and enhance food systems.

This included the establishment of the Presidential Delivery Council, the Agricultural Transformation Office, and the Agriculture Delivery Unit. For Tanzania, achieving food self-sufficiency stands as a top priority, striving to eliminate the challenge of insufficient food supply in Africa.

  • “Africa has to wash away the shame of not being able to feed itself. For Tanzania, food self-sufficiency is critically important,” he said.

Dr. Demba Sabally and Dr. Henry Kpaka, Ministers of Agriculture for the Gambia and Sierra Leone, respectively, highlighted the systemic and structural advancements made in rice, cassava, and livestock value chains within their regions.

More Insight

Richard Ofori-Mante, Acting Director of AfDB’s Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, urged participants to translate the shared knowledge into actionable measures within their countries, communities, organizations, and institutions.

Additionally, private sector representatives and development partners, including the World Bank and IFAD, reiterated the pivotal roles they play in ensuring food security and resilience across the continent. Their commitment reflects the strong determination showcased during the Dakar 2 Africa Food Summit in January.

During that summit, African countries and development partners exhibited their resolute commitment to achieving food security and resilience in Africa, with development partners pledging over $30 billion. AfDB alone committed $10 billion over five years to support the implementation of country compacts, and partner commitments have now exceeded a remarkable $70 billion since the Dakar 2 summit.

This collective effort signifies a powerful step forward in addressing food security challenges across Africa and promoting the continent’s sovereignty over its food systems.


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