22 May 2017

Africa: AfDB to Make Africa's Food Imports History

Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN
Pickers attend to a tea plantation in Kericho, Kenya. A study has recently revealed that African nations can break dependence on food imports and produce enough to feed a growing population within a decade.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to make the continent self-sufficient in food production within a decade.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina made the pledge at a press conference in Ahmedabad, India Monday morning, a day ahead of the official opening of its 52nd annual meetings.

Dr Adesina noted that Africa was currently spending $36 billion every year on food imports.

"If things don't change, Africa's annual spending on food import would reach $110 billion by 2025."

Several years

"Last year, we invested a total of $800 million in agriculture in eight African countries, which is the biggest in our bank's history," he said.

AfDB has been supporting the improvement of agribusiness in Africa for several years.

Feeding Africa remains one of AfDB's five priority areas, according Dr Adesina, who stated his bank's commitment to help in the transformation of African agriculture.

Transforming Africa's agriculture within a decade and ending food import requires a total investment of $30 billion to $40 billion per year.

Expected to double

Dr Adesina believes that there were sufficient resources within the continent and potential partners to generate the funding to transform Africa's agriculture.

Africa's total population of 1.2 billion was expected to double by 2050.

Even though African countries have vowed to allocate at least 10 per cent of their GDP to agricultural sector improvement, most failed to keep their promise.

Report shows that in 2014, a total of $12 billion was invested in agriculture by all African countries.

AfDB chose India for its 52nd annual meetings that focus on agriculture to learn from the Asian giant, which managed to make food import history in only three years, according to Dr Adesina.

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