African leaders have pledged to identify, define and develop local solutions to challenges facing local agricultural production to build effective and sustainable food systems for the people of Africa, and deliver zero hunger by 2030.
The leaders, who included sitting and former Heads of State and Governments as well as heads of private sector and multilateral organisations, were hosted by Rwanda’s President, H.E. Paul Kagame and H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chair of AGRA and the AGRF Partners Group during the Presidential Summit at the just-ended AGRF 2022 Summit.
President Kagame, who chaired the session, urged African nations to implement bold actions to shore-up food security – especially at this time of multiple global crises. He called for joint efforts by African leaders and other stakeholders to enhance resilience in the continent’s agricultural sector, to enable the continent sustainably feed itself and future generations.
“When we met one year ago, ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit, our continent put forward a strong common African position which needs to be built upon in order to effectively deliver results on the ground. Ultimately, it is about ensuring Africa is more resilient in the face of unexpected global shocks. But we are off-track in achieving our agreed targets under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, and the Malabo Declaration as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. The Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing conflicts and the global supply chain and energy crisis are all placing an unusual strain on our food systems,” President Kagame said, highlighting the issues facing the continent’s food systems. He urged African leaders to walk the talk and provide for their citizenry.
H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn hailed the commitment of leaders present at the summit and their collective will and ambition to advance African food systems.
“The presence of more than five Heads of State and Government at this year’s AGRF Summit depicts unprecedented commitment by our leaders to alleviate all forms of hunger, poverty and malnutrition. Africa’s prosperity depends on translating commitments we have made into implementation. The continent’s plight requires collective will, voice and action to radically transform our agriculture sector and turn our fortunes toward sustainable, self-sufficient economic growth. There is a need to boldly galvanise collective will among leaders to emphatically support agricultural transformation,” he said.
The session was also attended by Presidents H.E. Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe; H.E. Mohamed Bazoum of Niger; H.E. Vice President Philip Mpango of Tanzania; and UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed. The session was also attended by H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of the Federal republic of Nigeria); and H. E. Lionel Zinsou, the former Prime Minister of Benin.
President Kagame also noted the need for increased investments, citing this this as one of the ways to insulate countries from food shortage.
“Following the 2008 food price crisis, Rwanda invested heavily in post-harvest management; and this paid off during the pandemic. Africa should not be struggling with food insecurity given our natural endowments. Africa can feed itself and even feed others. This is an opportunity to work together, learn from each other and advance on ground solutions tailored to our specific contexts.”
President Kagame also challenged the continent, ahead of COP 27 in Egypt, to advocate for stronger commitments to reduce emissions and drive action on adaptation and resilience, particularly in developing countries.
The AGRF is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, bringing together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward. Under AGRF’s current strategy, the Forum is particularly focused on driving progress of the Malabo Declaration by 2025 as the priority set of commitments African Heads of State and Government have made to strengthen agricultural development at the centre of the continent’s overall development and progress. The AGRF is organised by the AGRF Partners Group, a coalition of institutions that care about Africa’s agriculture transformation.