President Paul Kagame challenged African leaders to commit to implementing long-discussed ideas for transforming food systems and the livelihoods that depend on them.
He was addressing the presidential summit of the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya on September 8.
Some 35 percent of the world’s hungry people are in Africa, yet 70 percent of adults on the continent work in agriculture and agribusiness.
“If they are not doing well, then Africa is not doing well,” said Kagame, as he advocated for equitable and affordable access to food for all.
The African Continental Free Trade Area was a great trade opportunity to be exploited to trade products with each other, Kagame said, stressing, however, that a more equitable global trade regime for food products is needed.
He also spoke of the daunting challenges of climate change, which continue to undermine food production on the continent.
With very high stakes in climate change, Kagame pleaded for a common African voice on the world stage.
Platforms such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and the United Nations Food Systems Summit are seen as a good step for Africa to take its position forward.
President Kagame revealed that the African Union Development Agency, NEPAD, facilitated an African Common Position ahead of the United Nations Food Systems Summit.
Five avenues have been suggested to ensure equitable and affordable access to food.
They understand; nutrition and school feeding, by supporting local markets and supply chains and trade in Africa, increases funding for agriculture to 10 percent of public spending.
They also include support for smallholder farmers, especially women, expanding social safety nets and climate early warning data systems.
“We have to keep in mind that success comes down to implementing these bold ideas, not just discussing them. We cannot afford to continue as usual, when it comes to food systems and livelihoods that depend on food production. »President Kagame
However, on the issue of funding, Josefa Leonel Correa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, said very few African countries are investing in agriculture.
“In the Maputo Declaration of 2003, African states pledged to invest 10 percent in agriculture and so far most of them have not complied according to our semi-annual review report… we we’re not talking about asking outside investors but about our public investment, “she said.
Kagame pointed out that for food systems, transformation means importing less food, because “we are able to produce more of what we consume”.
According to him, it is about putting an end to the excessive dependence on food imports as Africa’s main objective.