Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, delivered an impactful speech at the Norman Borlaug International Dialogue for the World Food Prize 2023, illuminating Africa’s transformative journey in agriculture.
Speaking under the banner “From Dakar 2 to Des Moines,” Dr. Adesina charted the ambitious course from the recently held “Feed Africa—Food Sovereignty and Resilience Summit” in Dakar, Senegal, to the birthplace of the World Food Prize in Iowa.
A highlight of the speech was the emphasis on the strong political will across Africa to end hunger. Dr. Adesina spoke about the commitment of African leaders to transform the continent’s agro-industrial sector. While acknowledging that about 283 million Africans still go to bed hungry, he drew attention to Africa’s potential, owning 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land.
Dr. Adesina said, “Africa has the potential to feed its people and also help feed the world,” echoing sentiments previously expressed by US President Joe Biden.
The African Development Bank’s “Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)” was showcased as a beacon of progress. In just four years, the TAAT program has resulted in the delivery of various resilient agricultural technologies to 12 million farmers, enhancing food production by an added 25 million metric tons.
Despite challenges, including the war in Ukraine affecting food imports, Africa has responded with resilience. The African Development Bank initiated a $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility to mitigate the impacts. This effort, complemented by support from several countries, aims to help produce 38 million tons of food, valued at an estimated $12 billion in production over two years.
Post the Dakar 2 Summit, Dr. Adesina highlighted the $70 billion financial commitment from global partners to support Africa’s food security plans over the next five years. Special emphasis was given to the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), designed to promote value-added agricultural processes and trade.
Dr. Adesina’s passionate call to action encapsulated the shift in African agriculture, urging the global community to invest in the continent’s promising agribusiness landscape. With an estimated worth of $1 trillion by 2030, African food and agribusiness presents significant investment opportunities.