Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, November 18, 2016 – The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) launched the Feed Africa strategy in the Central Africa Region at a workshop held Friday, November 11, 2016, in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The objective of this regional workshop was to raise awareness and solicit feedback from stakeholders in the Central Africa Region by deliberating with the participants on the major components of the Feed Africa strategy.
The event, which brought together over 150 participants from the public and private sectors (including civil society organizations, youth, women, academia, development partners, among others), across the Central Africa Region was officially opened by Henri Eyebe Ayissi, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cameroon. In his keynote address, Minister Ayissi emphasized that Cameroon is looking forward to working with the Bank in implementing the country’s agriculture sector objectives of developing production value chains; the modernization of production infrastructure and the development of financing access mechanisms. He emphasized the importance of practising agriculture as a business to make Cameroon food secure and a net food exporter.
In his opening statement, the Acting Vice-President of the African Development Bank, Janvier Litse, reiterated the conviction of the President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, that, “Agriculture must be the engine of Africa’s economic transformation.” In his welcoming remarks, the Bank’s Resident Representative, Racine Kane, pointed out that the development of this strategy was a cooperative effort by all stakeholders on the continent and addressed the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and Maputo Declaration objectives of the African Union.
In his presentation, Chiji Ojukwu, Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry at the Bank, observed that “Africa currently faces a staggering food import bill of US $35 billion per annum, which is projected to increase to US $110 billion by 2025 if we do nothing.” He announced that the African Development Bank intends to contribute US $2.4 billion annually for the next 10 years, to bridge the financing gap. “We hope this will encourage others to contribute to the US $30 billion needed annually for an agricultural transformation in Africa,” he said.
A panel discussion, which included representatives from the financial sector, agribusiness, civil society, youth organizations and the public sector, highlighted the importance of harmonized government policies to improve intra-African trade, land tenure challenges, affordable financing instruments for the agriculture sector and attracting youth into the agriculture sector, among others.
As part of the Bank’s High 5 Agenda, the Feed Africa strategy has four specific goals, namely to contribute to eliminating extreme poverty in Africa by 2025; ending hunger and malnutrition in Africa by 2025; making Africa a net food exporter; and moving Africa to the top of export‑orientated global value chains, where it has comparative advantage.