AfDB, IFAD, Others Give $17b To Boost Food Security in Africa

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Over US$17 billion in financing has been pledged by a unification of multilateral development banks and development partners to address rising hunger on the African continent and to improve food security.

These funds were donated on the final day of a two-day high-level dialogue – Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations recently.

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The event was hosted by the Africa Development Bank and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organisation.

17 African heads of state also signed on to the commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies, investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development.

The various parties adopted a communiqué outlining these commitments at the end of the event.

Of the overall amount pledged, more than US$10 billion came from the African Development Bank, which said it would invest US$1.57 billion on scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years. This will help countries achieve self-sufficiency.

Another US$8.83 billion go towards building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years. This will include programmes to create opportunities for young people – particularly women.

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) committed up to US$1.5 billion over the period 2020-2024 in agriculture. The Islamic Development Bank Group said it would earmark US$3.5 billion in developing the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years. It said these investments will develop commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops.

In an additional show of solidarity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joining a coalition of development partners, declared that it will invest US$652 million in the next three years. This will support agriculture research and development initiatives in Africa. This funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with a host of new innovations.

President, African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said: “Let us now create today, a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers.”

IFAD said it aimed to provide an additional US$1.5 billion to Africa to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems over the next three years.

IFAD will also invest more in creating the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity. The organisation is helping to develop a growing pipeline of investments to restore land, create jobs and build resilience to climate change in the Sahel region.

This will contribute to the Green Great Wall objectives, and will create 10 million jobs in the region by 2030.

According to President, IFAD, Gilbert F. Houngbo, “We praise the African leaders’ commitment to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security for millions of Africans.

“By modernising African agriculture, small-scale farmers will be in a better position to bring more affordable food to consumers and create decent livelihoods for millions of young Africans involved in the processing, storage and marketing of food.”

IFAD has invested over $23.2billion in 518 million rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience since 1978.

The funds come as grants and low-interest loans to projects. IFAD is an international financial institution and a United Nations specialised agency based in Rome – the United Nations food and agriculture hub.

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