AfDB Calls on Regional Member Countries and Donors to Support African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism

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The African Development Bank Group invites Regional Member Countries and donors to support the Africa fertilizer financing mechanism (AFFM) financially to enable the mechanism to be legally operational as well as support its investment activities,” the Bank’s Sector Operations Vice-President Aly Abou-Sabaa told ministers and experts, on March 6,in Tunis at the 2nd Governing Council Meeting of the AFFM. The meeting was chaired by the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture and Chairperson of the AFFM Governing Council, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime.

Abou-Sabaa further stressed that AFFM was facing the lack of funding to render the facility more operational. “Given the enormity of the challenges facing Africa’s fertilizer sector, more significant resources are required to finance the AFFM’s work program,” he said, expressing the Bank’s appreciation to delegates for honouring the invitation.

The specific objective of the meeting is to agree on joint actions, which, if implemented, would lead to the operationalization of the AFFM. This also constitutes the main outcome of the event. More importantly, according to experts, a key value-added of this meeting is that it envisages to operationalize a vital continental initiative, which if achieved could greatly complement the Bank’s efforts in supporting the continent’s agriculture development, fight hunger, promote rural employment and facilitate inclusive growth. Discussions underway include, among others, follow-up on the implementation of the outcomes of the first meeting, resource mobilization, and AFFM partnership with similar agencies and initiatives.

The meeting was marked by presentations, frank discussions and exchange of experience that could be applied to the work of the AFFM.

Echoing VP Abou-Sabaa, Tumusiime expressed the need for more outreach, as well as both political and financial commitments in the part of African countries to ensure the operationalization of the AFFM. “Nowhere in the world, can food security be achieved without fertilizer,” she said.

Also speaking on the occasion, Mali’s Agriculture Minister Berthé Baba underscored that financing the AFFM is indispensable if Africa wants its agriculture to play its development role.

AFFM aims to create a catalytic environment for the investments needed in Africa to enhance fertilizer production and consumption at affordable prices. It focuses on two types of activities, namely facilitation and encouraging the private sector to invest in fertilizer ventures aimed at expanding national and regional production capacity.

The 2nd AFFM Governing Council meeting brought together more than 30 executives and senior level decision-makers, including Ministers and their representatives, AUC, NEPAD, UNECA, the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)officials, representatives of farmers’ organizations, and management and staff of the Bank.

The AfDB was given the mandate by African Heads of State to establish and host the AFFM in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC).  In this regard, Vice-President Abou-Sabaa reassured the forum that the Bank would continue to work the AUC and other existing and new partners to mobilize resources both for the AFFM’s legal operationalization and its investment activities.

The Bank’s Board of Governors approved the establishment of the AFFM in March 2008.