Dakar food summit looks to unlock Africa’s potential

Co-organized by Senegal and the African Development Bank (AfDB), this event aims to “unlock the food production potential” of the…

Co-organized by Senegal and the African Development Bank (AfDB), this event aims to “unlock the food production potential” of the continent. By Abdourahmane Diallo –

How to feed Africa? 

For three days, from January 25 to 27, 2023, some 20 heads of state and government, accompanied by several experts in their delegations, will attempt to answer this question, the theme of the Dakar 2 Summit which opened on Wednesday morning at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Center in Diamniadio, some 30 km from Dakar.

During the action-oriented meeting, these leaders will hold meetings to mobilise and align government resources, development partners and private sector financing to unlock Africa’s food potential, according to the website of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the co-organizer of the event.

“It will not be a summit like any other,” promised Beth Dunford, AfDB Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, in an interview with RFI.

The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine are hitting African countries hard and they are forced to act. 

“We know that nearly 250 million Africans go to sleep hungry every night, and that is unacceptable. We also know that food prices are rising, so people are finding it harder to feed their families. The cost of fertilizer is also going up, so farmers are having a hard time producing more. So it is time to mobilize to strengthen food sovereignty and food security,” she said.

To achieve this, the AfDB is counting on the removal of obstacles to agricultural development and accompanying new investments. This would enable Africa’s agricultural production to increase from $280 billion per year to $1,000 billion by 2030.

According to the AfDB, investing in increased agricultural productivity, supporting infrastructure, climate-resilient agricultural systems, with private sector investment along the food value chain, can help make Africa a breadbasket for the world.

During the summit, the African Development Bank said, private sector actors will commit to developing critical value chains. 

Central bank governors and finance ministers will also commit to developing financing arrangements for the implementation of the food and agriculture pacts, in collaboration with ministers responsible for agriculture, as well as private sector actors, including commercial banks and financial institutions.

The summit agenda focuses on the following priorities: mobilizing high-level political commitment around production, markets, and trade to implement food and agriculture delivery pacts for selected countries; mobilising and aligning government resources, development partners, and private sector financing around food and agriculture delivery pacts to achieve food security at scale in each country.

The discussions will also share successful food and agriculture experiences in selected countries and platforms for scaling up support to agriculture.

This is expected to double agricultural productivity through advanced technologies, livestock and aquaculture and climate-smart advisory services. 

Similarly, support for research and development for a pipeline of climate-resilient agricultural technologies is expected.

Finally, the meeting is expected to develop the necessary infrastructure and logistics with special agribusiness processing zones to build competitive food and agricultural markets and value chains.

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