African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina expressed confidence in Africa’s ability to eliminate hunger through partnerships and technologies. Speaking at the 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week (AASW) in Durban, South Africa, Adesina emphasized the need for action and robust financing to achieve this goal.
Adesina addressed an audience comprising stakeholders in agriculture and agribusiness research and innovation in Africa, urging them to harness the power of science, technology, and innovation to build a more productive, efficient, and competitive agricultural system.
The event, organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the government of South Africa, the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank, and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), gathered various partners, including UN’s IFAD and UNIDO, as well as the European Commission.
AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko emphasized the urgency of the event in light of the hunger pandemic caused by factors like Covid-19 and climate change. Sacko called on Africa to leverage its potential, including science, and adopt a proactive approach to shocks. She also highlighted the importance of Africa’s young population and abundant natural resources in feeding both the continent and the world.
FARA Chairperson Alioune Fall addressed the relationship between climate change and agricultural production, noting the necessity for new approaches. Fall stressed the importance of affordable, technology-driven solutions to ensure the adoption of nature-based approaches by Africa’s young farmers.
Adesina projected that African food systems could generate $1 trillion in value within the next seven years. To achieve this, he called for increased support and resources for CGIAR, regional research and development institutions like FARA, and sub-regional agricultural research organizations.
The African Development Bank has taken initiatives to enhance food security in Africa, including the Feed Africa Summit held in Dakar, Senegal. Adesina mentioned the successful development of Food and Agricultural Delivery Compacts for 41 countries during the summit, which have mobilized $72 billion thus far with the support of development partners, the African Union Commission, private sector companies, and global and national agricultural research centers.
Adesina presented the 2023 FARA Leadership Prizes for Advancing Agricultural Science, Technology, and Innovation in Africa to esteemed individuals such as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, and Ambassador Sacko. He himself had received the award in 2016.
The 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week serves as a platform for stakeholders in agriculture and agribusiness research and innovation in Africa. Held every three years, the event facilitates progress assessment, information sharing, business alliances, and the establishment of joint action priorities. The previous AASW took place in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2016.