Washington, 25 April (TDI): On April 22, the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina emphasized that Africa should prepare for the inevitability of a global food crisis. Adesina delivered a speech as a guest at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, Washington, USA. The speech mainly discussed Africa’s priorities in today’s world.
Africa must prepare for the inevitability of a global food crisis, said African Development Bank President @akin_adesina, speaking at @AtlanticCouncil's @ACAfricaCenter. Rising costs of #fertilizer, energy prices, and food baskets, only expected to worsen: https://t.co/rwdu0qhYJ3 pic.twitter.com/dvuNx0yviY
— African Development Bank Group (@AfDB_Group) April 24, 2022
AFRICA FACES A SERIOUS GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY TODAY
The African continent has long faced severe food security problems mainly because of conflicts and poor governance. Nine of the 10 countries with the largest increases in food insecurity in 2020 are facing intense conflict. The Sahel region, northeastern Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic all have serious food security problems caused by armed conflicts and terrorism.
Moreover, the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 have exacerbated food insecurity across the continent. In 2020, more than 100 million Africans faced a crisis, emergency, or catastrophic levels of food insecurity, an increase of more than 60 percent from the previous year. Additionally, side effects of the epidemic including border closures, lockdown, and job losses have reduced food supplies.
However, although African governments continue to tackle the crisis with international support, the Russian-Ukraine conflict has made the situation worse. Earlier this year, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Wamkele Mene delivered a speech in London. Mene said, “Africa is a net importer of food and so anything related to that causes an imbalance in food security”.
Furthermore, explained by Adesina, Russia and Ukraine supply 30 percent of the world’s wheat exports, and prices have soared nearly 50 percent worldwide. From 2018 to 2020, Africa imported 32% of Africa’s total wheat imports from Russia and another 12% from Ukraine. Thus, under the context of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, Egypt has seen a 50% rise in the price of bread that does not receive government subsidies and Tunisia’s central bank has warned of rising inflationary pressures
AfDB CONTRIBUTES TO AFRICAN FOOD SECURITY THROUGH TAAT
During the speech, Adesina warned that Africa must rapidly expand food production to cope with the food crisis. Therefore, AfDB has been active in mitigating the impact of the food crisis through the African Food Crisis Response and Emergency Fund.
Besides, Adesina also emphasized the significance for Africa to develop independence in response to the food crisis. In this case, AfDB has launched a project named Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT). The TAAT aims to help the continent realize its huge potential in farming by adopting high-impact technologies to increase yields. Specifically speaking, the program covers nine food commodities in more than 30 African countries.
Overall, TAAT has a target to increase food production by 100 million tons and lift 40 million people out of poverty by 2025. To achieve its goal, TAAT offers heat-tolerant varieties and climate-smart seeds to countries. In addition, TAAT also participates in the rescue of drought. Until now, TAAT has already made a difference in several African countries with a benefit to millions of farmers.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL
The Atlantic Council started working as an American think tank in 1961. The Atlantic Council is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and focuses on the field of international relations. Accordingly, since its establishment, the Atlantic Council has stated itself as a nonpartisan institution.
Established in 2009, the Africa Center aims to help transform U.S. and European policy approaches to Africa. Thus, the Center has worked especially on emphasizing strong geopolitical partnerships with African countries. Besides, the center also contributes to strengthening economic growth and prosperity on the continent.