FAO Regional Conference for Africa concludes with strong commitments toward agrifood system transformation


The 33rd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa has concluded with a strong ministerial declaration that calls for greater support to build resilience in African countries against climate shocks, increase cooperation for Blue Transformation to intensify African aquaculture, a revival of underutilised African crops, and inclusive rural transformation.

The declaration comes at the end of a three-day conference in Rabat, hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco, that saw the 54 African delegations take part, including Ministers of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry and other relevant portfolios. Civil society, private sector and development partner organizations and representatives also took part.

The unanimous declaration emphasized concerns over Africa's progress towards the Malabo Commitments on food security and nutrition, and the targets underpinning the Sustainable Development Goals for food security, ending all forms of malnutrition, and sustainable agriculture.

The FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 anchored the discussions across the three days. The framework features the four betters – better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life – which provide a roadmap through which FAO can support countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 1 No Poverty, SDG2 Zero Hunger and SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities.

Ministers renewed their commitment to implementing the four betters. They encouraged FAO to continue to support the African Union in the formulation of the post-Malabo strategy and action plan, welcomed FAO’s proposal for a reinvigorated business model for the evolution of the FAO Country Offices network, and called on FAO to provide special attention to agrifood systems transformation in Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries, and to support enhanced implementation of the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa.

During her closing remarks, FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo, speaking on behalf of FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, underscored the urgency of collaborative and decisive actions needed to transform agrifood systems in Africa.

“We have just six years until the 2030 deadline. To a farmer this is six annual harvests. To ministers, it is six government budgets. Or six operational plans. We have just three more opportunities to meet in this forum before the end of 2030,” she said.  

“It's imperative, as we’ve discussed at this conference, that we leverage science, innovation, digital tools and strategic partnerships to drive agrifood systems transformation in Africa… We must walk the talk.”  

Semedo also expressed deep thanks to the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting the conference, and the delegations for their rich ideas, contributions and experience-sharing. “Sharing and learning from one another is vital to lift up the whole continent and South-South collaboration is an important tool…Let's move forward with a sense of urgency and a commitment to make real change for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life in Africa,” she concluded.

Mohammed Sadiki, Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests of the Kingdom of Morocco and Chairperson of ARC33 also thanked the delegates for making the conference a success and for forging ahead on the agenda of agrifood systems transformation in Africa.

Across the three days, the conference also highlighted FAO’s flagship initiatives, such as the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, One Country One Priority Product, the Green Cities Initiative and 1000 Digital Villages, as valuable country-led vehicles for accelerated development.

The outcomes of the conference will inform FAO’s strategic planning in Africa for the next two years, and will be tabled for consideration and endorsement at the FAO global conference later this year.