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With the right investments and policies, Africa can mobilize its large food production potentials

PRESS RELEASEBonn/Kigali – 12 October 2020: Africa has the potential to secure its supply of food for affordable and healthy diets from the sustainable use of its own resources, but significant investments and policies are needed to transform this potential into reality, a study by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and AKADEMIYA2063 concludes. Africa still imports US$ 60 billion worth of food every year. This primarily urban market offers an opportunity for Africa’s agricultural producers and food industries. Beyond the direct benefits for food and nutrition security, a stronger food and agriculture sector will create jobs and raise incomes in rural areas, increase government revenues, ensure accelerated economic growth and development, and build resilience against the impacts of climate change and COVID-19 in Africa.

The study highlights a number of priority areas for investments, cooperation and policies to increase the supply and distribution of food from African crop, livestock, agro-forestry and fisheries production. To enhance production volumes, investments should focus on innovations related to production inputs, small-scale irrigation and off-grid energy technologies, finance, digitalization and mechanization. These investments need to be supported through systemic interventions that enhance the skills of the labour force, provide a conducive business environment, empower marginalized groups and ensure environmental sustainability of production. Professor Joachim von Braun, Director at ZEF, says: “we should not just think about production inputs but about mobilizing people’s capacities. Investing in the education and training of the youth and women would give a boost to African food production.”

Improving the supply of food alone will not be enough. Investments and policies are also needed to facilitate market access and regional trade and thereby enable access to African food products across the entire continent. Investments in transport infrastructure, processing industries, inclusive markets for small-scale producers and regional trade integration, including through the African Continental Free Trade Area, should be prioritized. In addition, investments in advanced technologies to reduce food losses will be needed to ensure that a considerably larger share of African production actually reaches end consumers.

The international community can assist Africa in increasing its own food supply through well-targeted development assistance and foreign direct investments, supportive trade rules and collaborative research efforts. Any such measures need to align closely with Africa’s own agricultural transformation agenda. Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Executive Chairperson of AKADEMIYA2063, notes: “the improved performance of the agricultural sector in recent years, led by increased investment and better policies, shows that progress is possible. The road to food and nutrition security is still a very long one. Getting there will require continued policy reforms and sustained investment in agriculture.”

Contact
ZEF: PR Department, presse.zef[at]uni-bonn.de

AKADEMIYA2063: Nabou Tall, ntall[at]akademiya2063.org

Notes to editors:
The recommendations are based on a study by ZEF and Akademiya2036 entitled “From Potentials to Reality: Transforming Africa’s Food Production” which was released on 12 October 2020 (also available in German).
The study was instigated and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the ONE World – No Hunger initiative of the German government. The findings will be presented at the BMZ event “A world without hunger is possible – What must be done” on 13 October 2020.
The study provides a structured review of recent state-of-the art literature with analyses to identify evidence-informed investment and policy priorities that could increase supply-side capacities and food security in Africa.
The study was developed by German and African research partners, drawing on their long term and ongoing collaborative research on agriculture and opportunities for achieving food security within the BMZ-funded Programme of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI).
PARI has been bringing together partners from Africa, India and Germany since 2015 to contribute to sustainable agricultural growth and food and nutrition security in Africa and India.
ZEF is an international and interdisciplinary research institute of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn active in research, capacity building, policy dialog and public awareness as well as international networking.
AKADEMIYA2063 is a Rwanda-based policy think tank which aims at creating state-of-the art technical capacities to support the efforts by the Member States of the African Union to achieve the key goals of the agenda 2063 of transforming national economies to boost growth and prosperity.