Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), emphasized the significance of Africa’s food and agribusiness sector, projected to reach a staggering US$1 trillion by 2030, during his address to investors. He spoke at the World Food Prize Foundation’s Norman E. Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa, where the AfDB played a pivotal role in the Borlaug Dialogue while spearheading efforts to address Africa’s food challenges.
Despite being home to 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, Africa paradoxically relies heavily on food imports. African leaders are resolute in their commitment to achieving self-sufficiency in food production and becoming net food exporters. The growing global population, expected to reach nine billion by 2050, underscores the urgency for Africa to enhance agricultural productivity to meet the escalating demand for food.
During a session titled “From Dakar 2 to Des Moines,” Adesina highlighted the outcomes of the Dakar 2 summit, a collaborative effort between the AfDB, the Senegalese government, and the African Union. At the summit, 34 African leaders endorsed country-specific food and agriculture delivery compacts, resulting in actionable plans to ensure food security and harness the continent’s full agricultural potential within a five-year timeframe. These efforts align with the core principles of the AfDB’s Feed Africa strategy, introduced in 2016, which has already benefitted over 250 million people through improved agricultural technologies.
Adesina revealed that partners have pledged more than $70 billion to support these food compacts, with the AfDB committed to providing $10 billion over the next five years. Highlighting the substantial African representation at the Borlaug Dialogue, Vice President Kashim Shettima of Nigeria underscored the pivotal role of leadership in Africa’s journey to self-sufficiency in food production and overall development.
The African Development Bank has already committed $853 million to public-sector initiated Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) and successfully mobilized $661 million in financing alongside co-financing partners. In total, these partners are investing over $1.5 billion to establish 25 agro-industrial zones and support ecosystems in 13 countries.
Adesina called upon investors and stakeholders to express their confidence in the African food and agribusiness sector, citing strong political will and promising results on the ground as compelling reasons to engage with this vital economic segment. Africa’s trillion-dollar food and agribusiness sector represents a significant opportunity for sustainable growth and development across the continent. ZIJ/2/11/2023