The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) signed a memorandum of understanding for future collaboration aimed at promoting the development of agricultural infrastructure and vocational training for women and young people. The deal would also advance climate-smart agriculture in Africa.
FAO Director-General Dr Qu Dongyu and BADEA Director-General Sidi Ould Tah signed the agreement on April 29 in a virtual ceremony during a high-level dialogue hosted by the Bank African Development Fund and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa and the CGIAR Global Partnership.
“Africa is a top priority for FAO,” Qu Dongyu said. With this agreement, “we want to modernize African agriculture and make it more efficient, more inclusive and more sustainable,” he added.
The pact formalizes and extends a lasting cooperative relationship between the two entities and advances one of the goals of the two-day dialogue: stronger partnerships to scale up African food systems.
“Our High Level Dialogue on Food for Africa provides a platform for commitments to advance the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and food systems,” said Atsuko Toda, Acting Vice President of Africa. the Bank for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, and its Director of Agricultural Finance and Rural Development.
“Virtual signing of MoU between Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa shows international interest in scaling up programs and policies that work across the continent, ”she added.
The MoU also covers private sector engagement in agriculture, market information, development of agricultural value chains, increasing production and productivity for pastoralists as spheres collaboration.
The Bank is supporting collaborative efforts to boost Africa’s agricultural productivity through its Technologies for Agricultural Transformation in Africa (TAAT) initiative – a partnership of the African Development Bank, CGIAR, Bill & Melinda Foundation Gates, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
In a partnership with TAAT, Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde told the virtual dialogue audience that “the government has identified key priority intervention areas to increase the productivity of small farmers and expand production large-scale wheat market with an ambitious plan to achieve wheat self-sufficiency by 2023. “
Youth participation in agribusiness will be essential, said Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina. “Young people are the ones who will use drones, they use satellite imagery, they use remote sensing.”
The two-day dialogue brought together 18 African heads of state as well as Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit; Tony Blair, executive chairman of the Institute for Global Change; heads of FAO, BADEA, Islamic Development Bank Group and Afreximbank, among others.
“We need your strong political leadership to make Africa an African power,” Adesina told African leaders. “We have the technologies and the technology delivery platforms. We need better policy incentives and better access to finance to support agricultural transformation.”