Africa’s ambitious plan to transform its agriculture and become a major food supplier for the world has garnered solid global support. Donor nations have committed over $50 billion towards this goal within two months of its launch. These funds will enable African countries to invest in modernizing their agricultural practices, infrastructure, and technology and ultimately enhance their food security and economic growth. Several vital donors have already pledged substantial amounts towards this initiative. For example, Germany has promised to contribute $14.34 billion, while the United States has committed to providing $5 billion. Other notable contributions include the African Development Bank’s $10 billion commitment over five years and the Islamic Development Bank’s $7 billion pledge. African leaders have also shown commitment by agreeing to allocate at least 10% of their public expenditure toward agriculture. With this solid global support and commitment, Africa’s vision of transforming its agriculture sector and becoming a breadbasket for the world seems attainable.
At the recent AU summit in Addis Ababa, African heads of state and government endorsed the agriculture transformation plan and called for global support for its immediate implementation. This plan aims to address the challenges faced by African farmers and boost their productivity by improving access to markets, finance, and technology. It also seeks to empower rural communities and promote gender equality. The commitment of African governments and international partners towards this initiative reflects the urgency and importance of ensuring food security for the growing population of Africa and the world. The success of this plan will not only benefit Africa but also contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating hunger and poverty.
Africa’s Current Agriculture Needs Transformation
In an article published on unctad.org, Paul Akiwumi, Director for Africa and Least Developed Countries at UNCTAD, mentioned the dire need for bold actions to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the coming months/weeks. The rising cost of nutritious food is a global issue that disproportionately affects vulnerable households, with African nations, particularly the least developed countries, bearing the burden. The war in Ukraine has been a critical factor in the skyrocketing prices of staple foods such as wheat, maize, and barley. But even before this conflict, food prices steadily increased due to strong import demand and tightening export stocks due to droughts in 2021. As a result, the number of people experiencing food insecurity at a moderate or severe level in Africa has increased from 512 million in 2014 to 794.7 million people in 2021. With nearly 60% of the continent’s population facing food insecurity, it is clear that Africa is not on track to meet the food security and nutrition targets of Sustainable Development Goal 2.
Compounding this problem are global challenges in moving affordable food, fertilizer, and fuel, as well as ongoing conflict and drought in the region. Another concern is the large-scale land deals in Africa, which totaled 22 million hectares from 2005 to 2017 and are likely to rise. Without solid property rights and resource governance systems, commercial investments in agriculture can lead to displacement, loss of livelihoods, and loss of access and tenure rights to land for the local population. Despite being a priority on Africa’s development agenda, the continent’s performance remains subdued. In 2020, only four countries met or exceeded the target of 10% of annual public expenditures in agriculture, while only one country is on track towards achieving the CAADP Malabo commitments by 2025.