African countries to double agricultural productivity

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Banks, development partners pledge over $17B to address rising hunger on African continent and to improve food security.

Seventeen African heads of state on Friday signed on to the commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies.

The signing took place at the end of a two-day virtual dialogue on Feeding Africa where panelists discussed ways to expand activities, financing, and partnerships to further leverage technology and innovation for food systems transformation.

Banks and development partners pledged over $17 billion to address rising hunger on the African continent and to improve food security.

It will include investing in access to markets as well as promoting agricultural research and development.

“Of the overall amount pledged, more than $10 billion came from the African Development Bank, which said it would invest $1.57 billion on scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years.

“Another $8.83 billion will go towards building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years. This will include programs to create opportunities for young people – particularly women,” the African Development Bank (AfDB) said in a statement.

AfDB President Akinwumi 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.”

“You have seen a global alliance, a global partnership that has come together under very strong leadership from Africa. … We must Feed Africa. We don’t have an option. We have a moral obligation and responsibility,” Adesina said during the dialogue on Friday.

Sub-Saharan Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land but only produces 10% of its agricultural output but the low productivity of staple crops makes African agriculture uncompetitive, according to the AfDB.

As a result, the region imports one-third of the calories that it consumes, which makes food systems more vulnerable and dependent on external food supply chains.

The two-day (April 29-30) virtual dialogue on Feeding Africa brought together government officials, heads of multilateral development banks, development partners, regional organizations, research institutions, business leaders, private sector operators, investment agencies, participants from academia, civil society organizations, and experts from across Africa and beyond.

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