The African Development Bank participated in a record-breaking 16 events at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), Africa's largest agriculture conference, which concluded last week.
The hybrid summit was hosted by the Government of Kenya and the AGRF Partners Group under the theme, Pathways to Recovery and Resilient Food System.
Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina headlined the Bank's engagement. In his pre-taped remarks streamed during the AGRF Presidential Summit session, he revealed new details about a Financing Facility for Food and Nutrition in Africa. The facility is a joint Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) initiative, set to deliver proven agricultural technologies to African farmers at scale and strengthen the food systems around them.
Watch Bank President Adesina's remarks delivered to the AGRF
"We must deliver food security for Africa at greater scale and for that, Africa needs a lot of financing," Adesina said, noting that the facility aims to raise $1 billion in financing, reach some 40 million farmers with modern technologies, and reduce incidence of hunger and malnutrition by up to 20%, among other goals.
"We should ensure that this Facility is established, as a major outcome for Africa at the United Nations Food Systems Summit," Adesina said to African Heads of State and Government attending AGRF, which organizers say had an audience of around 10,000 registered participants.
The Bank's participation at AGRF 2021 is part of ongoing efforts to help align Africa's voice with commitments to be made at the United Nations Food Systems Summit on 23 September.
Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Beth Dunford, also made the case for the financing facility under development at the Walking the Path to 2030: Commitments Framework session, one of her four AGRF engagements.
"The facility is both for Africa and by Africa. It responds to a call from African leaders to help African food systems build back better and stronger after Covid-19," Dunford said, referring to the High-level Dialogue on Feeding Africa co-hosted by the Bank and IFAD. She added that once the facility is operational, it will pool resources from a variety of partners and provide grants, loans and other financial instruments.
Earlier during the week-long summit, Vice President Dunford presented a Commitments Showcase segment that featured the positive impact of the Bank's Technologies for African Agricultural Technologies (TAAT) program and explained how boosting delivery of proven agricultural technologies will be part of the new financing facility's proposed agenda.
Watch the Bank's "Commitment Showcase: TAAT" segment
Martin Fregene, Bank Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry, delivered a keynote speech at an AGRF side-event organized by TAAT. Fregene told attendees that Africa could be a "powerhouse for food systems" because scaling agricultural technologies to achieve food security also delivers better nutrition while addressing challenges such as climate change.
Fregene also served as a panelist for the Getting to Zero: Sustainable Productivity session, which explored ways to increase access to fertilizer and other agricultural inputs, such as credit guarantees from the Bank's Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism.
"The inputs gap is real in Africa, and until we tackle this issue in a sustained manner, it would be impossible for us to have a food system that will assure the right to healthy food for all Africans," Fregene said.
A discussion about the role of African public development banks in the agricultural sector drew online audiences to hear Atsuko Toda, Bank Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Infrastructure Development, present at the session on Unlocking African Public Development Banks' Catalytic Role. Toda was optimistic about these state-owned institutions delivering on development objectives. "Results are much more positive when substantial efforts are made to improve the governance and capacity of these institutions," she said.
The Bank has earmarked $100,000 to support this year's AGRF, which brought together delegates from governments, civil society, the private sector and research communities.
Also participating in the summit were the Bank's Nnenna Nwabufo, Director General for the Bank's East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office; Kevin Chika Urama, Senior Director of the Bank's African Development Institute; Edson Mpyisi, Chief Financial Economist and Coordinator of the Bank's Enable Youth program; Olukemi Afun-Ogidan, Digital Agriculture Flagship Coordinator; Grace Vuhya Obeda, Principal Youth Employment Officer; Principal IT Solutions Architect Thierno Diarra; and Hafou Touré from the Bank's Agricultural Finance and Rural Development Department.