The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) launched its Feed Africa Strategy in the West Africa sub-region during a workshop held on November 24, 2016 at the Dakar Terrou-Bi Hotel. The objective of that workshop was to sensitise and enhance the mobilization of all stakeholders for the implementation of the “Feed Africa: Strategy for the Agricultural Transformation in Africa 2016 – 2025,” approved by the Board of Directors of the AfDB in June 2016.
The event, which brought together more than 150 participants from all West African countries, the public and private sectors, civil society, academia and research, associations of producers and consumers and young agripreneurs was chaired by Senegal’s Agriculture and Rural Equipment Minister, Papa Abdoulaye Seck.
In his opening speech, the Minister thanked the Bank for choosing Senegal to host the workshop. He reaffirmed the government’s support to the “Feed Africa” strategy, which, under the leadership of AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, is designed to enable Africa to sustainably feed Africa and position Africa to provide food to the rest of the world. He also recalled that Senegal has embarked on a difficult but realistic and achievable challenge: to make every effort to restructure its agriculture in order to achieve sustainable food and nutritional security as soon as possible. For Senegal, the “Feed Africa” strategy is the synergy of resources and efforts for an efficient and sustainable exploitation of the potentialities and the assumption of a range of prerequisites. The minister highlighted the challenges and enablers which underscore the transformation of agriculture in Africa. He invited the countries of the sub-region to take ownership of the new strategy to end Africa’s dependence on food imports while improving nutrition among the population.
In his welcome remarks, Adalbert Nshimyumuremyi, the Bank’s Acting Resident Representative in Senegal, reiterated the Bank’s commitment to promote structural transformation of Agriculture in Africa to turn this sector into the engine of economic transformation of the Continent. He also recalled that the new Strategy for the Transformation of Agriculture in Africa is the materialization of “Feed Africa” which is one of the Bank’s five priorities to advance Africa’s transformative agenda. He stressed the need for strong commitment from all stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the strategy.
An in-depth presentation of the Strategy was made by Johm B. Ken, Lead Agroeconomist in the Bank’s Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department. The presentation was followed by panel discussions and a session of questions and answers. The issues addressed by the panelists focused mainly on: (i) how to bring African Governments to give priority to agriculture but also to appreciate the immense benefits of the sector against the required medium and long-term public investment; and (ii) the roles and contributions of the various actors in the transformation of African agriculture. Overall, the stakeholders stressed the need for (1) harmonized and balanced interventions in all subsectors, namely agricultural, fisheries and livestock production, (ii) effective access of small-scale producers to innovative financing mechanisms, (iii) the need to improve the investment climate including land governance, fiscal facilitations.., and (iv) the enhancement of intra-region trade facilitation.
In his closing remarks, the acting Resident Representative expressed the gratitude of the Bank to the host Country for its support in the Organization of the workshop. He also thanked all participants for their massive attendance and invited them to take full ownership of the Strategy and to be at the forefront of its implementation in their respective countries.