African countries have committed to raise their ambitions and accelerate their actions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly in ending poverty and hunger, as the 32nd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa comes to an end in Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea.
Sixty-two Ministers from 54 African countries participated in the conference with country representations considered to be one of the best especially due to the hybrid mode, with more than half the ministers attending in person in Malabo, and the remainder joining online.
FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu urged countries to adopt enabling policies, innovation and science, and proper investment for agrifood systems transformation in Africa.
“We have a lot more work to do, and we must continue to work together, efficiently, effectively and coherently,” he said.
The Director-General also highlighted the desert locust control operations in eastern Africa as an example of quick and effective action on the ground, together with partners, under FAO’s technical leadership.
“Africa has great potential for change and prosperity due to its rich natural resources and its large pool of innovative young people,” Qu said. “You are here today as key leaders to drive this change. Let us be tall and strong like the ceiba tree, and continue to work together efficiently, effectively and coherently, and in a more innovative way for The Africa We Want!”
It was revealed that in addition to climate crisis, long-standing regional conflicts and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, now in its third year, a severe drought griping East Africa and most recently, the war in Ukraine which is severely limiting the supply of wheat to Egypt and nearby countries has pushed the prices of some staple foods on the continent.
The number of people going hungry in Sub-Saharan Africa is on the rise again after years of decline with latest numbers available indicating 282 million people on the continent, or over one-fifth of the population, not having enough food, representing a rise of 46 million from 2019.
The president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, said the conference was taking place at a critical time for the region’s economy and that there was an urgent need to transform the continent’s agrifood of Africa systems in a sustainable way.