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20 African heads of state, private investors meet in Dakar for food security

By Geoff Iyatse
23 January 2023   |   7:05 am
About 20 African heads of state and private sector leaders are among around 1,500 delegates meeting in Dakar, Senegal, this week, for a high-level discussion on roadmaps for achieving food sovereignty in the continent.

About 20 African heads of state and private sector leaders are among around 1,500 delegates meeting in Dakar, Senegal, this week, for a high-level discussion on roadmaps for achieving food sovereignty in the continent.

The three-day meeting, under the auspices of the second edition of the Feed Africa Summit (Dakar 2), lays out action-driven discourse on how heads of state would mobilise government resources and leverage development partners and private sector financing to harness Africa’s food and agriculture potential and turn advocacy efforts into concrete actions.

With the theme, ‘Feeding Africa: Food Security and Resilience’, the summit is organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.

It will be held from Wednesday to Friday at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre (CICAD) in Diamnadio.

As a prelude to the summit, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Equipment and Food Sovereignty of Senegal, in partnership with AfDB Group, will hold a press conference today.

During the three-day summit, key stakeholders, including political leaders, development partners and private sector investors, will come together to mobilise much-needed resources to bridge financing need in the continent’s food value chain.

According to the summit document, the objectives include mobilising high-level political commitment, development partner support and private sector investment around production, markets and trade to increase food production in Africa, sharing successful food and agriculture experiences in selected countries and galvanising national governments, development partners, as well as the private sector around food and agriculture delivery.

Developing necessary infrastructure and logistics with special agro-industrial processing zones to build markets and competitive food/agriculture value chains is another strategic objective of the meeting.

At the summit, private sector actors will commit to the development of critical value chains, AfDB said in the event document. It added that central bank governors and ministers of finance will bear the task of developing financing arrangements to implement food and agriculture delivery compacts, working with ministers of agriculture, as well as private sector players. Commercial banks and other financial institutions are considered critical parts of the private sector participants.

The regional bank stated: “Globally, 828 million people suffer from hunger, with Africa accounting for 249 million or a third of that number. The irony is that Africa alone, with 65 per cent of the remaining arable land, has the potential to feed nine billion people in the world by 2050. Its vast savanna areas alone are estimated at 400 million hectares, of which only 10 per cent is cultivated.

“With the removal of barriers to agricultural development aided by new investments, Africa’s agricultural output could increase from $280 billion per year to $1 trillion by 2030. Investing in raising agricultural productivity, supporting infrastructure, climate-smart agricultural systems, with private sector investments all along the food value chain can help transform Africa into a breadbasket for the world.”

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