Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

Africa Regional Group - Handover Ceremony



Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

18 January 2023


Chairperson of the Africa Regional Group,


Dear Colleagues,


1. As we begin the New Year 2023 – and the Chinese Lunar New Year in a couple of days - I would like to extend my best wishes to all of you for a healthy, happy and prosperous year ahead.

2. First, I wish to thank and pay tribute to the outgoing Chair of the Africa Regional Group, Ambassador Foumane of Cameroon, for his leadership, coordination, commitment, and excellent work carried out under the ongoing challenging times.

3. I would like to thank you for your contribution and support for the Organization’s transformational changes, on which we have been working since I took office in 2019, and on which we are now starting to see positive outcomes.

4. I also wish to congratulate and welcome the incoming Chair, Ambassador Jezile of South Africa.

5. I look forward to continuing the strong and fruitful collaboration with the Africa Group under your leadership and coordination,

6. To ensure that Africa continues to be a priority and that FAO continues to ensure it is fit-for-purpose to address the needs of the region.

Dear Friends,

7. Since taking office, almost 41 months ago, Africa has always been a top priority for me.

8. A lot has been done so far, and a lot still needs to be done!

9. To reach our collective objectives for the Continent, we need to continue working together in an efficient, effective and coherent manner.

10. Guided by the FAO Strategic Framework, in support of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, for the transformation of Africa’s agrifood systems to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable,

11. And to achieve the Four Betters across the Continent: Better Production, Better Nutrition, A Better Environment and a Better Life for all Africans – leaving no one on the Continent behind.

12. Our many achievements over the past more than three years include efforts to contain the spread of plant pests, including overcoming the Desert Locust crisis across the Horn of Africa and beyond.

13. The Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control has been an effective coordination mechanism linking technical and financial resources to farmers’ fields.

14. FAO has made extraordinary progress in mobilizing voluntary contributions and this sharp increase in funding has contributed to supporting major emergency operations, including in South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

15. FAO has also been quick to provide humanitarian aid to one of the most severe droughts in decades in the Horn of Africa.

16. In addition to anticipatory action, FAO has scaled up its response as the situation has deteriorated, reaching almost four million rural people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in 2022.

17. Through the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, FAO is currently providing investment planning and policy support to 59 countries, of which 33 are African countries.

18. The FAO Investment Centre has also provided assistance to International Finance Institutions financed projects worth USD 7.6 billion, which reflects new investments for 24 Members at country level, plus five regional projects in Africa.

19. FAO is also supporting African countries through the 1000 Digital Villages Initiative to promote the digital transformation of villages and small towns across the region.

20. Through the Green Cities Initiative, we are supporting 30 African municipalities to create more sustainable and food secure cities.

21. The One Country One Priority Product Initiative has now been launched in all five FAO Regions – with Africa having been the first region!

22. Furthermore, the joint FAO – African Union Commission Task Force established at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, has now been extended to include other crises affecting agrifood systems and food security in Africa, including protracted conflicts and the war in Ukraine, the climate crisis and economic downturns.

23. I strongly urge Members from Africa to participate in the World Food Forum 2023, following the successful editions held over the past two years.

24. The reorganization of capacities in the Regional and Subregional offices, following the new headquarters model, aims to ensure a modern and efficient decentralized offices network – this is particularly important in Africa to better place the Organization to ensure optimal support to countries on the ground,

25. Working as ONE FAO, in collaboration with the RBAs and other UN wide agencies.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

26. My door is always open to listen to you on proposals for further improving and intensifying our activities and presence across the region.

27. The voice of Africa should continue to be heard across all FAO’s governing bodies, to ensure the Organization stays on track to achieve our common objectives of ending poverty and hunger, ensuring food security for all and leaving no one behind.

28. I look forward to continuing to work hand in hand with the Africa Regional Group in the coming years, for a better future for all on the African Continent.

29. Thank you.