Africa commits to doubling agricultural productivity as development partners pledge Sh1.8 trillion to increase food security

Africa commits to doubling agricultural productivity as development partners pledge Sh1.8 trillion to increase food security

A coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners has pledged over $17 billion (Sh1.8 trillion) in financing to address rising hunger on the African continent, and to improve food security.

Seventeen African heads of state signed on to a commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies following a two-day high-level dialogue, “Feeding Africa: Leadership to Scale up Successful Innovations.” hosted by the The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at the end of April.

AfDB pledged to invest Sh169 billion towards scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years. This will help countries achieve self-sufficiency. Another Sh955 billion will go towards building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years. This will include programs to create opportunities for young people – particularly women.

“Let us now create today, a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers,” said AfDB President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development will provide an additional Sh162 billion to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems in Africa over the next three years. IFAD will also invest more in creating the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity. The organization is helping to develop a growing pipeline of investments to restore land, create jobs and build resilience to climate change in the Sahel region. This will contribute to the Green Great Wall objectives, and will create 10 million jobs in the region by 2030.

Other partners include the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), which committed another Sh162 billion between 2020-2024, The Islamic Development Bank Group, which earmarked Sh378 billion to develop the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years to develop commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will invest Sh70 billion in the next three years to support agricultural research and development initiatives — this funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with new innovations.

Sub-Saharan Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land but only produces 10% of its agricultural output. The low productivity of staple crops makes African agriculture uncompetitive. As a result, the continent imports one-third of the calories that it consumes, making food systems vulnerable and dependent on external food supply chains.

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