AfDB Host MDBs Task Force Meeting on Food Crisis

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Following recent international conferences in Washington D.C., Rome, Cape Town and Accra on rising food prices, the AfDB will, from June 26-27, host a meeting of the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) Taskforce, aimed at coordinating and harmonizing MDB action programmes on food crisis in a quick, comprehensive and holistic manner.

The meeting which will be preceded on June 25 and 26, by a partner countries conference on "Revitalizing African Agriculture: Its Implications for Addressing the Food Crisis", will review current activities, map out urgent needs, including available resources and financing gaps. The meeting will enable participants make in-depth analyses and examine three major issues relating to policy responses, short-term operational actions, as well as medium and long-term programme operational harmonization and alignment. 

In undertaking its work, the MDBs taskforce will be guided by the fact that Africa’s recent economic gains and political stability should not be allowed to be jeopardized by the double linkage effects of rising energy and food prices. The taskforce will also consider the implications of the current food crisis on the ability of many poor African countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but revitalizing African agriculture over the medium and long term constitutes, in itself, a new fulcrum to the attainment of poverty alleviation and economic growth. 

The task force is therefore expected to highlight various opportunities generated by escalating food prices that can help stimulate private sector investment in agriculture provided the enabling policy environment exists. 

The task force will incorporate the outcome of the Partner Countries Meeting particularly government policies that are designed to sustain and address the crisis without compromising macroeconomic frameworks.

The task force’s recommendations are designed, for the most part, to be country-led and owned, with actions being fairly rapid performance-oriented with adequate flexibilities in processes and procedures in order to ensure fast results. It will be recalled that at the height of the food crisis, heads of MDBs meeting in April 2008 requested the AfDB to head the task force on food prices. Subsequently, the Bank Group initiated a series of conversations and dialogue with its member countries and development partners, particularly during the recent Bank Annual Meetings in Maputo, Mozambique. The Bank has also undertaken several studies under the NEPAD CAADP, which will constitute one of the working documents for the task force.

A total of twenty-eight development partners will participate in the meeting, including Multilateral Development Banks, leading African institutions, bilateral donors, UN agencies, research institutions, non-governmental organisations.