A coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners has pledged over $17 billion in financing during a high-level forum held at the weekend.
The move is to address rising hunger on the African continent and to improve food security.
These funds were pledged on the final day of a two-day high-level dialogue – Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations. The event was hosted by the Africa Development Bank and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organisation.
In addition, 17 African heads of state signed on to the commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies, investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development.
The various parties adopted a communiqué outlining these commitments at the end of the event. Of the overall amount pledged, more than $10 billion came from the African Development Bank, which said it would invest $1.57 billion on scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years.
This would help countries achieve self-sufficiency. Another $8.83 billion would go towards building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years.
This will include programmes to create opportunities for young people – particularly women.
African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said: “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.”
IFAD said it aimed to provide an additional $1.5 billion to Africa to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems over the next three years.
IFAD will also invest more in creating the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity. The organisation 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.
“We praise the African leaders’ commitment to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security for millions of Africans,” said IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo.
“By modernising African agriculture, small-scale farmers will be in a better position to bring more affordable food to consumers and create decent livelihoods for millions of young Africans involved in the processing, storage and marketing of food,” he added.
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) committed up to $1.5 billion over the period 2020-2024 in agriculture.
The Islamic Development Bank Group said it would earmark $3.5 billion in developing the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years. It said these investments will develop commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops.
In an additional show of solidarity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joining a coalition of development partners, declared that it will invest $652 million in the next three years.
This would support agriculture research and development initiatives in Africa. The funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with a host of new innovations.