FAO Director-General highlights that investing in social development with a focus on youth, women and smallholder farmers is one of the key priority areas
UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment: special event on building Africa's food sovereignty and resilience through sustainable investments, at the FAO headquarters in Rome.
Rome – A full-scale Africa-led agrifood systems transformation will not be possible without game changing solutions, greater investments in smallholder farmers and local organisations, structural transformation, innovations, and partnerships at all levels.
This was a key takeaway from a high-level special event held on the sidelines of the United Nations Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment (UNFSS2+) entitled “Building Africa's food sovereignty and resilience through sustainable investments,” which was organized by the Interdepartmental Task Force on African Affairs (IDTFAA).
Representatives from Governments, the United Nations, the African Union and other IDTFAA partners exchanged their views on how to seize momentum for the Africa-led transformation of agrifood systems to make them more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable.
In his address to the participants, the FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, praised Africa’s strengths such as its human and natural resources while stressing that, to unleash the full potential of these valuable assets, the continent needs game-changing decisions and actions. He cited investing in social development in particular youth, women and smallholder farmers as one of the key priority areas.
The Director-General also highlighted the need for a shift towards digital agriculture in the continent, noting that FAO has launched the 1000 Digital Village Initiative, which seeks to identify 1000 villages across the world to convert them into digital villages.
“Ï strongly encourage you to invest in future – future for innovation, future for young people,” Qu said.
The meeting saw the participation among others of Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Alvaro Lario, President of the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD); Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP); Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment of the African Union Commission; Fitsum Assefa, Minister for Planning and Development of Ethiopia; Ildephonse Musafiri, Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda; and Ahmed Mathobe Nunow, Minister of Agriculture of Somalia.
In general, the panellists underscored the importance of strengthening resource mobilization, improving government expenditure efficiency, particularly in agricultural sector, improving investment climate as well as fixing failing financial architecture. They touched on the need to identify financing gaps, boost local production and improve rural infrastructure.
The participants also emphasized the need to provide access for farmers to financial instruments and sufficient resources, innovations, technologies and markets. They also noted a vital role of private sector engagement and public-private partnerships in achieving efficient agrifood systems transformation.