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African Leaders Gather In Dakar to Unlock Agriculture Potential

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African leaders and various experts, researchers, investors and policy makers are gathered in Senegalese capital Darkar to strategize on unlocking the continents agriculture potential.

Dubbed the 2nd edition of the Summit on Agriculture and Agri-Food(January 25-27), Heads of State will hold meetings to mobilize and align government resources, development partners and private sector financing to unlock Africa’s food potential.

“The agriculture sector is considered a lame-duck in Africa. We need a shift as Heads of State to prioritize the agriculture sector and farmers,” said President Macky Sall of Senegal on his vision for food and agriculture transformation across Africa.

Rwanda is represented by Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente who arrived in Darkar on Wednesday.

Focused on removing the obstacles to agricultural development and accompanying it with new investments, agricultural production in Africa could increase from U$280 billion a year to U$ 1trillion by 2030.

Investing in the increase of agricultural productivity, supporting infrastructure, climate-smart farming systems, with private sector investments along the food value chain can help make Africa a breadbasket for the world.

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

Diversify food production for the world

Globally, 828 million people suffer from hunger, with Africa accounting for 249 million, or a third of the number of hungry people in the world.

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 2 on zero hunger can only be achieved if it is achieved in Africa.

The United Nations has noted that Africa must be at the center of attention, where “the number of undernourished people is increasing faster than anywhere else in the world”.

Feeding the world therefore requires that global food systems be modified to fully unlock Africa’s food production potential.

It is the same call made by the United Nations: “A profound change in the food and agricultural system is necessary if we are to feed the more than 828 million people who suffer from hunger today and the 2 billion more people who world will have by 2050. Increasing agricultural productivity and sustainable food production are crucial to help alleviate the dangers of hunger”.

Food shortages can cause serious social and political problems. As United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said, “Governments must support agricultural production and invest in resilient food systems that protect small-scale food producers. “If we don’t feed people, we feed conflict.”

Unleashing Africa’s food and agricultural potential

Despite having 65% of the remaining arable land to feed 9 billion people globally by 2050, the continent imports over 100 million metric tons of food at a cost of U$75 billion a year.

Africa has the potential to feed itself and help feed the world. Its vast savannah areas alone are estimated at 400 million hectares, of which only 10% (40 million hectares) are cultivated.

Investing in increased agricultural productivity, supporting infrastructure, climate-smart agricultural systems, with private sector investments along the food value chain can help transform Africa into a breadbasket for the world .

Achieving Zero Hunger in Africa will require between U$28.5 billion and U$36.6 billion per year.

With the removal of barriers to agricultural development facilitated by new investments, it is estimated that Africa’s agricultural production could grow from U$280 billion a year to $1 trillion by 2030.

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