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Opening remarks by Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group at the High-Level Panel on Food Security and the Achievement of SDGs in Africa: The Role of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, New York, September 23, 2019

24-sep-2019
  • Excellencies,
  • Honorable Ministers,
  • Distinguished delegates,
  • Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you all for joining us here today. I am very pleased that the African Development Bank is co-hosting this session with FAO, UNECA and Morocco. And the focus is on food security and the SDGs.

There’s a lot we must learn from experiences of others through South-South Cooperation. China’s, India’s and Latin America’s successful experiences in agriculture offer much scope for lessons and sharing of innovations and experiences with Africa.

And there’s so much to learn within Africa from what’s working as well.

The success of Morocco on its fertilizer sector, with the rapid growth of the OCP, its fertilizer company, into a global company is already helping African agriculture.

The experience of Nigeria in using the electronic wallet system to deliver farm inputs to millions of farmers is already being replicated in Togo, Liberia, Benin and as far as Afghanistan.

Similarly, the agricultural risk sharing system that’s been so successful in getting Banks to lend to agriculture in Nigeria is being scaled up to several countries, including Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Kenya.

And successful lessons from Ethiopia’s agriculture are helping to inform other countries on building effective extension systems.

The African Development Bank is investing $25 billion in agriculture over ten years. Some of this work already show significant impacts and offers useful lessons for South-South and global cooperation.

Let me share some of these briefly.

The Bank launched the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to help take technologies to scale for millions of farmers. The initiative brings together the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, national agricultural research centers, and private sector companies, on a strategic technology delivery platform.

In 2018, TAAT maize compact, working with 30 private sector companies, delivered climate smart maize varieties to 2.6 million farmers, who planted them on over 1 million hectares.

Through the South-South Cooperation Trust Fund, hosted at the Bank and funded by Brazil, we are financing efforts to transform 16 million hectares of savanna land of Africa into a breadbasket for producing maize, soybean and livestock.

The Bank, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, launched the Leadership for Agriculture platform to link ministers or agriculture and finance to develop investment incentives to drive agriculture.

The Bank has launched the Special Agro-industrial processing zones to invest in infrastructure in rural areas to enable food and agricultural companies to locate there, driving the development of national, regional and global agricultural value chains. These zones will help transform rural economies from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. Together with the FAO, UNIDO, IFAD, World Bank and the African Union we plan to significantly drive the SAPZs in several countries.

Finally, the Bank has developed strategic partnership to address the rising problem of malnutrition and stunting on the continent, which affects over 41 million children. Together with Aliko Dangote Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Big Win Philanthropy and the African Union, and the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, the Bank launched the African Leaders for Nutrition which is harnessing political will to end stunting in Africa. Through our joint Africa Nutrition Index with the African Union, countries are being ranked based on the effectiveness of their policy actions to tackle nutrition.

South-South Cooperation and other strategic partnerships offer excellent opportunities to exchange ideas, foster innovation, transfer knowledge of what’s working and structure joint efforts to scale up successful interventions.

Together, we are stronger. Together, we can do more. Together ,we will achieve more. And together, let’s help Africa feed itself and fully unlock the full potential of its agriculture.

 

Thanks very much.

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