Des Moines, Iowa, 30-Oct-2023 – African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, urged global investors not to miss out on the continent’s booming food and agribusiness sector, which is projected to be worth $1 trillion by 2030. This clarion call was made at the World Food Prize Foundation’s Norman E. Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa.
During the dialogue, which revolved around the theme of “harnessing change,” experts and delegates brainstormed on pioneering solutions to enhance resilience, spur innovation, and ensure the world’s food security. This comes at a pivotal moment, as Africa, boasting 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, paradoxically remains a significant food importer.
President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia underscored Ethiopia’s remarkable stride to food security. She proudly noted, “Today, Ethiopia has achieved self-sufficiency in wheat production for the first time in its history and is now exporting to neighbouring countries.” This breakthrough was significantly supported by the African Development Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) program.
A notable highlight from the dialogue was the discussion titled “From Dakar 2 to Des Moines”. Here, Adesina recounted the outcomes of the Dakar 2 summit, emphasizing that 34 African nations have developed comprehensive food and agriculture strategies aiming to bolster food security and amplify Africa’s agricultural potential within a half-decade.
Elaborating further, Adesina disclosed that the AfDB’s Feed Africa strategy, initiated in 2016, has positively impacted over 250 million Africans through advanced agricultural technologies. “Our partners have pledged over $70 billion to back the food compacts. The Bank will contribute $10 billion in the upcoming five years,” Adesina revealed.
Vice President Kashim Shettima of Nigeria, present at the dialogue, accentuated the pivotal role of leadership in shaping the continent’s fate. He stated, “A nation’s trajectory, be it ascension or decline, hinges on the calibre of its leadership.”
Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Nigeria’s Plateau State took the conversation a step further, emphasizing the necessity of eradicating corruption, an issue that has long plagued the continent. Advocating for transparent governance, he assured potential investors, “Investing in Plateau State promises mutual benefits.”
The AfDB has already dedicated a staggering US$853 million to public-sector initiated Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs). This has led to the mobilization of $661 million from co-financing partners, culminating in a collective investment surpassing $1.5 billion to establish 25 such zones across 13 African countries.
In closing, Adesina beckoned investors to seize the immense opportunities within Africa’s food and agribusiness landscape. He stressed the unwavering political commitment and tangible progress already evident on the continent.