The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has staked US$6 billion in development financing to strengthen Africa’s food security prospects which has faced severe challenges due to climatic changes heightened by geo-political conflicts, Oluranti Doherty, Director of Export Development at the Bank, said in Accra today.
Ms. Doherty, who was participating in a panel discussion on “Overcoming the challenges of food security for sustainable development in Africa” at the ongoing Afreximbank Annual meetings (AAM2023), said that the Bank had also released more than US$700 million to support the setting up of special economic zones (SEZs), industrial and agro parks in several of its member countries.
She said that with food insecurity constituting a major challenge to Africa’s economic independence and growth, Afreximbank was reinvigorating its approach to supporting the continent to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
“At Afreximbank, we are firmly convinced that industrial parks and SEZs are critical tools the continent can deploy to fast-track its agricultural development, promote intra-African trade and facilitate export development,” she said. “This is a priority for the Bank as it remains pragmatic in providing workable solutions to challenges facing its member countries”.
Also speaking, Dr. Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development, called for the implementation of the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, which set a targeted approach to achieving the continent’s aim of food security and sustainability for economic growth and poverty reduction.
Noting that Africa boasted of abundant aquatic resources, over 60 per cent of uncultivated arable lands and a young population, Dr. Sacko said that what remained was the effective implementation of such policies as the Malabo Declaration.
She commended Afreximbank for the role it was playing to help make Africa a sustainable and food secure continent and expressed regret that, at the moment, 38 African countries were net importers of food. That situation called for urgent action from every player.
“We cannot be food secure in a conflict-filled environment,” said Dr. Sacko. “Let us silence guns all over Africa, implement already generated policies around sustainability for profitable agriculture and watch as the continent becomes the world’s food basket.”
Also participating in the panel were Hardy Pemhiwa, President and CEO of Cassava Technologies, and Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa.
AAM2023, which ends on 21 June, is being attended by political and business leaders, bankers and other trade and trade finance practitioners from across Africa and beyond, including leaders of several member countries of the Caribbean Community.