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African urged leaders to build better food systems, promote food sovereignty -AfDB

Abuja, Sept. 12, 2023(NAN) African leaders have been urged to build better food systems and promote food sovereignty, with youth and women at the centre.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), in a statement said the leaders were advised during the 2023 Africa Food Systems Summit held recently in Dar es Salam.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit was held on the sidelines of Africa’s Annual Agriculture Summit, following the Darka 2 Food Summit in Senegal.

The session brought together ministers of agriculture from several African countries, including Tanzania, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, and Guinea Bissau, development partners and private sector operatives.

They discussed the implementation progress and outcomes of the Dakar 2 summit in their respective countries.

Dr Martin Fregene, the AfDB’s Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industrialisation, said: “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.

Tanzania’s Agriculture Minister, Hussein Bashe, highlighted key actions that Tanzania had taken to accelerate food production and systems.

Bashe said this included the creation of the Presidential Delivery Council, the establishment of the Agricultural Transformation Office and Agriculture Delivery Unit.

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

The Gambian and Sierra Leone Ministers of Agriculture, Dr Demba Sabally and Dr Henry Kpaka, also highlighted systemic and structural developments in rice, cassava, and livestock value chains in their areas.

The acting Director of AfDB’s Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, Richard Ofori-Mante, urged participants to transform the knowledge shared into actionable steps in their countries, communities, organisations, and institutions.

NAN reports that private sector and development partners from the World Bank, and IFAD among others, emphasised the critical roles they played towards delivering food security and resilience on the continent.

In January, the Dakar 2 Africa Food Summit demonstrated African countries’ and development partners’ strong commitment to achieve food security and resilience in Africa.

Development partners announced support of more than $30 billion.

This includes $10 billion over five years by AfDB in commitments to support the implementation of country compacts at the summit, partner commitments since the Dakar 2 summit have exceeded $70 billion.