Conference on Revitalizing African Agriculture Ends in Tunis
Tunis, 26 June 2008 – A conference on revitalizing African agriculture ended on Thursday in Tunis with participants making a series of recommendations, including the urgent need to promote the agricultural sector in national poverty reduction strategies. Organized by the Bank Group and held on the theme: "Revitalizing African Agriculture: Its Implication for Addressing the Food Crisis", the conference brought together officials of some thirty regional member countries of the Bank Group, as well as representatives of bilateral and multilateral development institutions who underscored the need to have joint and complementary operations in support of the continent’s agricultural sector.
"From every perspective, this conference has attained its objectives. It has made it possible to share national experiences in the management of the food crisis. The conference has, above all, made it possible for development partners to have reliable information on the financing and technical assistance needs of African countries regarding the agricultural sector," the AfDB Agriculture and Agro-industry Department Director, Aly Abou-Sabaa, said.
The conference reaffirmed the need to seek urgent solutions to problems caused by escalating cereal prices, while stressing the role medium and long term actions can play in the process. These solutions include providing additional resources to the sector. All the recommendations of the conference will be submitted to the working group meeting of multilateral organizations which got under way on Thursday in Tunis, Tunisia.
The Bank Group has announced it will increase its agriculture portfolio by US$ 1 billion to support the continent’s agricultural sector, raising its portfolio from US$3.8 billion to US$4.8 billion. Some US$ 250 million of this amount will be used to purchase much-needed fertilizers in regional member countries over the next 12 months.
Speaking recently in Rome, Italy, within the framework of the just-ended World Food Summit, Bank Group President Donald Kaberuka reiterated the institution’s strong commitment to help its regional member countries cope with challenges caused by escalating cereal and raw material prices.