AU Leaders declare support for Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts, call for urgent implementation
African heads of state and government have endorsed the outcomes of the recent Dakar 2 Summit on Food Sovereignty and Resilience, hosted in January by the African Development Bank Group and the government of Senegal, calling for global support for its immediate implementation.
In a resolution read at the end of the 36th African Union summit on Sunday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, they described the Dakar 2 Food Summit as important and timely to address rising food prices, disruption in the global food supply, and worsening of food insecurity in Africa.
In less than a month, the Dakar 2 Food summit mobilised more than $36 billion in investment to boost food and agriculture production across the continent. The African Development Bank led with $10 billion.
Other commitments include:
- Islamic Bank committing $7 billion.
- International Fund for Agricultural Development, or IFAD: $3 billion.
- United States Agency for International Development, USAID: $5 billion.
- European Union: $4 billion.
- West African Development Bank: $1 billion.
- Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa: $2 billion.
The leaders said: “The Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts developed at the Dakar 2 Summit convey the vision, challenges, and opportunities in agricultural productivity, infrastructure, processing, value addition, markets, and financing that will contribute to the acceleration of the implementation of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program.”
As a step proactive forward, the African Union called for the implementation of the Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts with time-bound and clearly measurable indicators for success, including concrete national policies, incentives, and regulations to establish an enabling environment for wider and accelerated investments across the agriculture sector.
Speaking at the AU Summit, president after president lauded the African Development Bank for its leadership in helping Africa to feed itself and become a breadbasket for the world.
Senegalese head of state and outgoing African Union chairperson Macky Sall commended the work of the African Development Bank and its leadership when he addressed the opening ceremony of the 36th African Union Summit on Saturday.
President Sall, who has been chairperson of the AU since February 2022, paid tribute to the African Development Bank and the effective work it does to spur progress across the continent, including food security.
“I am deeply grateful to our brother Akinwumi Adesina for the enthusiasm and leadership with which he continues to mobilise the African Development Bank to help unlock the continent’s agricultural potential and end its food dependence,” the Senegalese leader whose country co-hosted the food summit said.
“The excellent results of Dakar 2 testify to this,” he added.
The summit resulted in the 2023 Dakar Declaration on Food Sovereignty and Resilience, which stresses that the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 on zero hunger cannot be achieved unless it is achieved in Africa.
“Thanks to the African Development Bank’s relentless efforts, already about $36 billion has been pledged to boost agricultural productivity, including $10 billion from the bank, within the framework of the National Pacts that have been signed.”
The Senegalese president further called on fellow heads of state and government to “endorse the Dakar Declaration 2 on Food Sovereignty and Resilience and instruct the African Union Commission to work towards its implementation in collaboration with the bank.”
“No more ‘Africa of problems’, now it’s time for an ’Africa of solutions!” President Sall said, brandishing a credo that he shares with the president of the African Development Bank.
Sall’s position was echoed by his successor, the President of Comoros, and the new Chairperson of the African Union for 2023, Azali Assoumani.
The first day of the 36th African Union Summit marked the handing over of the presidency of the African Union from the Senegalese leader to his counterpart from the Union of Comoros.
According to Assoumani, the Russian-Ukrainian war, like COVID-19, has demonstrated the urgency for African countries to break the cycle of dependence by growing food production proactively and, most importantly, by conforming to the Dakar Declaration on Food Sovereignty and Resilience.
Assoumani called for deeper engagement with concerned organizations, particularly the African Development Bank, “which spares no effort to support the agricultural sector in Africa, to obtain seeds and inputs for this production, but also to strengthen the capacities of our countries in an important field of agriculture.”
He lauded what he described as the bank’s exceptional leadership for its work in food security for Africa. The Comoros president also made a case for a special place for young people in agriculture “who have great potential and will allow our countries to get out of poverty, famine, malnutrition, and dependence”.
“It is indeed essential to train and occupy these young people, to prevent them from becoming hostages of 13 extremists of all kinds, who threaten the peace and stability of our countries, through their terrorist actions,” Assoumani stated.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called upon the African Union and development partners to support the 2023 Dakar Declaration on Food Sovereignty and Resilience to unleash Africa’s agriculture potential.
“The declaration rightly acknowledged the continental awakening that it is time for Africa to feed itself and fully unlock its agriculture potential to feed the world,” Ahmed said.
African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat emphasized in his opening address that “the time for talking is over”. He called for a focus on “intra-African solidarity and the rapid implementation of African financial institutions”, which he described as “the road to salvation”.
In the declaration at the end of the AU Summit, the organization observed that despite having 65 percent of the world’s remaining arable land, one-third of the world’s 828 million hungry people live on the continent. Africa continues to experience severe food insecurity.
The African Union emphasized that Africa can produce enough food to feed itself and contribute to feeding the rest of the world. It agreed with the position of the African Development Bank that achieving and sustaining food sovereignty requires delivering agricultural technology to farmers at scale, as well as increasing food production and increasing investments in food and agricultural systems are necessary for achieving and sustaining food security.
The African leaders also threw their weight behind the scaling up of highly impactful continental initiatives such as the African Development Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation and other successful country and partner programmes.
The leaders called on the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank to follow up with various development partners to finalize their planned financial support to complement the $30 billion financing announced at the Dakar 2 Summit and to report on the overall investment of development partners at the next Ordinary Session of the Assembly in 2024.