African Leaders Formalizes Commitment to Food Security

African Leaders Formalizes Commitment to Food Security

Resilience must be boosted in Africa in response to climate change, according to participants at the high-level Africa Food Security Leadership Dialogue hosted by the Government of Rwanda in Kigali (5-6 August), in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank. 

“Farmers have
always been innovators. What they need are policies that protect them and
increase their resilience to climate change. They need access to information,
technology, and investment, and they should be brought to the conversation on
innovation,” FAO’s Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said. 

Africa’s food and
agriculture sectors are among the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of
climate change. Small-holder farmers, small entrepreneurs, and their families,
whose livelihoods depend on rain-fed agriculture, are most threatened by
climate change. 

Building resilience is
among FAO’s key development priorities in Africa. Resilience against multiple
threats, including climate change, is a key prerequisite for sustainable
development, in particular when it comes to the challenge of feeding over 2
billion Africans by 2050.  

Semedo was speaking at
a panel discussion on scaling up investments and policies for food security in
response to climate change, alongside African Union Commissioner for Rural
Economy and Agriculture Josefa Sacko, President of the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD) Gilbert Houngbo, the World Bank’s Vice
President for the Africa Region Hafez Ghanem, and the Director for Agriculture
and Agro-Industry at the African Development Bank (AfDB) Martin Fregene. 

According to the
latest FAO data, hunger is on the rise in almost all African sub-regions making
Africa the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, at almost 20
percent. The situation is mostly driven by conflict and climate change and is
especially critical in Eastern Africa, where 30.8 percent (133 million people)
are struggling to have enough to eat.   

Conference
participants heard that it is possible to adapt to these risks with immediate
and bold action focused on resilience. 

On Monday,
participants endorsed a commitment to better support African countries to
accelerate progress towards improved food security. 

The aim of the AFSLD
is to facilitate engagement between governments and key development partners to
galvanize unified action for Africa’s agriculture and food systems in response
to climate change. Around 250 people are attending the two-day event, including
the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and European Commissioner for International
Cooperation and development Neven Mimica.